Cornwall Ontario — The Active Healthy Kids Canada Report 2013 Report Card was released on May 21st and the focus this year is on active transportation or its apparent lack in the lives of Canadian children and youth. In fact, the report points to a recent survey that found that although 58% of parents walked to school when they were kids, only 28% of their children walk to school today (AHKC, 2013). With so many health, social, environmental and economic benefits associated with active transportation, one has to wonder why there is such a decline. The report points to a number of barriers to active transportation – such as time, road and neighbourhood safety, and distance – but these can be overcome but will require a concerted effort on behalf of citizens, decision-makers and even local business owners.
Luckily for Cornwall and the surrounding area a group of individuals has been working hard over the past several months and is pleased to announce that the Active Transportation Community of Interest is “off and running”. Actually, it could be in-line skating, walking, cycling, skate boarding or using a wheel chair to get to where it needs to be, which is highlighted in the group’s vision and mission:
Vision: A vibrant, resilient community with clean air, healthy citizens, and a safe, accessible and interconnected transportation system.
Mission: Through partnerships, advocacy and leadership, we want to build awareness of and support for strategies that lead to progressive active transportation policies.
A strong core of individuals representing various interest groups of the City of Cornwall and surroundings has had some productive meetings over the winter. City of Cornwall Division Manager of Infrastructure Planning, Steve Wintle attended the most recent meeting. He shared the upcoming city projects planned in terms of cycling lanes, recreational paths as well as sidewalks. The information was well received, as this community of interest group is thrilled to see the ongoing extension and maintenance of the already lengthy recreational path.
Over thirty groups – businesses, municipalities and advocacy groups in the three United Counties have been contacted recently with an offer to discuss opportunities for how we can support their programs and help to achieve the Active Transportation Community of Interest’s vision.
A long-term goal is to encourage more use of active transportation by all residents of Cornwall and the surrounding area and in turn effect positive social, health, economic and environmental change. Although the focus of the Active Healthy Kids Canada report is on children and youth, the Active Transportation Community of Interest is focused on and advocating for active transportation planning and policies that will impact all residents. The group looks forward to providing a citizens’ voice in helping to build vibrant, resilient communities with clean air, healthy citizens, and a safe, accessible and interconnected active transportation system throughout the region.
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