I bike, I skate, I vote

Leaving the skateboard park the other day, my son turned to me and said: “Mommy, I want to talk to the mayor.” “Oh really,” I said, trying not to smile too hard. “Yah, Mama, I want a skateboard park in my neighbourhood. So we don’t have to come all the way up here. Me and my friends can just ride our bikes there and practice our jumps whenever we want.” “Well,” I said, “that’s something that the mayor would probably be interested to hear. We can go to a meeting that’s happening soon and you can tell him your idea.”

And so will you. Leading up to the local government elections the third Saturday in November, there will be town-halls and all-candidates meetings across this province. The meetings are hosted by many different organizations to discuss and debate a variety of visions and plans for each community. We have created a guide for folks who want a quick overview on how local governments help us to lead healthier lives on a daily basis with our ‘Think Healthy, Vote Locally!’ Guide.

The ‘Think Healthy, Vote Locally!’ Guide provides some key points and issues to consider when heading to a meeting, to inspire your own healthy living questions. If you’re already in the know, then share the guide with friends or family, who may be a little less on top of the issues. Knowledge is power after all.

One of the issues that we hope will be discussed is the renewal of recreation facilities. This is something we have flagged at the BC Alliance for Healthy Living because of its significance in supporting people to get active. The local community centre is often the first place people check out when they decide to become more active. And yet, according to the BC Recreation and Parks Association’s report A Time for Renewal, upwards of 75% of BC’s recreation, parks and sports facilities are 25 years of age and older and half are over 35 years old, and “in urgent need of renewal or replacement.” And we believe they are an important investment in a community’s health and well-being.

If my son and his friends ran the town, we’d have jumps on every sidewalk and a half-pipe on the end of every block. And while this elementary-aged ideal may not be for everyone, everyone should have a say in what their community could use to make it more livable, active and fun.

Rita Koutsodimos
Manager, Advocacy and Communications
October 2011

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