Released by Canadian market research firm Leger on Aug. 11, the poll reported that 45 percent of Canadians indicate that the downtown core nearest to them is declining.
In addition, 15 percent of Canadians say that either a close friend or family member or they themselves have feared for their safety in the downtown core nearest to where they live in the last six months.
The top three reasons that have contributed to the downtown core’s decline are mental health challenges for vulnerable populations, given by 89 percent of the respondents; homelessness (88 percent); and lack of affordable housing for vulnerable populations (88 percent).
Notable mentions of other reasons include rising crime rates (87 percent) followed by drug addiction and lack of people working downtown (82 percent and 70 percent respectively).
According to the second-quarter report by commercial realty firm CBRE, Calgary has the highest downtown office vacancy rate among the 10 Canadians cities listed in the report, at 33.7 percent, surpassing the national rate at 16.9 percent.
The report released, on July 5, also noted that the Waterloo, Ont., region has the second-highest vacancy rate (26.5 percent), followed by London, Ont., (25.9 percent) and Edmonton (21.7 percent).
The Leger poll, conducted from Aug. 5 to 7 in collaboration with the Association for Canadian Studies, was based on a random sample of 1,509 Canadians aged 18 and over recruited from its online panel.
The poll is considered accurate within +/- 2.52 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.