As St. Tammany continues to grow, issues that impact business’ bottom line are being brought to our Chamber more frequently. Because our volunteer leadership wants to truly represent the interests of member businesses, we conduct surveys on a more regular basis than in the past.
As promised, the results of our 17-question survey are being shared with you today. Of 197 survey respondents, 100 have attended a presentation or are familiar with the reasons for the proposed toll increase on the Causeway. There were 40% in favor and 40% opposed with 15% unsure. It was unusual to have 124 subjective responses included on the survey, several which offered different safety improvements than the ones proposed by the commission.
Our Chamber membership is comprised equally between Mandeville and Covington businesses. With this understanding in mind, we asked about the proposed Port Marigny development on the lakefront in Mandeville, at the former pre-stressed concrete site. While 85% are familiar with the plan, 70% believe the development is important not only to the city of Mandeville but to the entire parish of St. Tammany and even the North Shore region as a whole. Once again, surprisingly, there were 99 subjective responses about the Port Marigny project. Only six of those were negative, with concerns about traffic mentioned 14 times and density mentioned 11 times.
Opinions: everyone has one. For this reason we seek yours. Separating facts from assumptions or misinformation is a challenge, especially on issues that some of us know relatively little about, such as safety improvements needed on the causeway or development of large pieces of waterfront property and impacts on the surrounding community. We respect everyone’s opinion, and take our role as the voice of and for business seriously. We value the time taken by the 197 respondents and believe our survey speaks on behalf of the silent majority and business people that do not have the time to attend public meetings of councils or commissions.
Finally, I want to reassure anyone concerned about the confidentiality of our surveys that we do not have the capability to tell who the respondents are. In other words, your input is strictly anonymous. You can expect more surveys in the near future, and you can expect our leadership to take positions when deemed necessary to fulfill our role as the voice of business and our mission to enhance the economic vitality of the region.