Municipalities across BC call on the province to fund infrastructure so residents can safely walk, bike and roll.

 Resolution B15 calling for a Provincial Active Transportation Strategy passes at UBCM Convention and is supported by 125 endorsers of the Communities on the Move Declaration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Vancouver, B.C., September, 13, 2018 – Delegates across BC voted in favour of an Active Transportation Strategy and Fund, supporting a resolution put forward by the District of North Vancouver and similar to resolutions advanced by Courtenay, Chase, Kent, Squamish, Vernon and the Sunshine Coast and Columbia Shuswap Regional Districts at this year’s Union of BC Municipalities Convention.

“We’re thrilled that the resolution passed! The fact that local governments came together to request more provincial support for pedestrian and cycling infrastructure is a big step forward for healthy living and something we’ve been trying to communicate through our Communities on the Move initiative,” said Rita Koutsodimos, Executive Director of the BC Alliance for Healthy Living (BCAHL).

The Communities on the Move Declaration envisions that within 10 years, across BC it will be easy, safe and enjoyable to get around by walking, biking, ride-sharing, public transit or wheelchair.  It lays out a policy agenda which includes a recommendation for a Provincial Active Transportation Strategy with increased funding.  Currently 125 organizations have endorsed the declaration, representing health charities, environmental groups, seniors, students and disability advocates, business and local governments.

“Chronic disease accounts for approximately 80% of the health care budget,” said Shannon Turner, Chair of BCAHL. “By getting people moving, active transportation infrastructure would play a part in helping to prevent some of the most common and costly chronic illnesses such as heart disease and Type-2 Diabetes.”

Many local governments have developed transportation plans that prioritize walking and biking. These kinds of street designs and trails also support tourism, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and make the community more age-friendly – so it works for families with strollers, older people in mobility scooters and those in wheelchairs.

“But local governments can’t do this alone; they need the provincial government to support their efforts to build the infrastructure that keeps people moving and healthy” said Rita Koutsodimos.

Built into BCAHL’s Communities on the Move Declaration is a commitment to equity.  Koutsodimos explains, “Recognizing infrastructure deficits for pedestrian, cycling, and transit modes faced by rural, remote and small communities is very important. Different communities across BC are experiencing the same funding constraints and joining forces on this.”

According to polling done by BCAHL last year, over 75% of British Columbians support investing in infrastructure that makes it easier and safer for walking and biking. And with it, over 70% said they would walk or bike more often.

“One and a half million British Columbians are considered inactive and only 40% of BC kids meet the daily physical activity requirements,” said BCAHL Chair, Shannon Turner. “We need to remove barriers to walking, biking and wheeling, and design our streets and sidewalks so that they work for people of all ages and abilities. With the Provincial Government’s support, we can change lives.”

To learn more about the Communities on the Move declaration, visit: www.bchealthyliving.ca/movebc

To view a list of Communities on the Move endorsers, please visit:  www.bchealthyliving.ca/movebc-endorsers/

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For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Laurie Dawson
Communications Manager
BC Alliance for Healthy Living
T: 604-629-1630 C: 778-231-4535
ldawson@bchealthyliving.ca

Rita Koutsodimos
Executive Director
BC Alliance for Healthy Living
T: 604-629-1630 C: 604-989-4546
rkoutsodimos@bchealthyliving.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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