Cycleways to recovery

By Jane Garcia in Canberra

Councils are seeking resources to ramp up their contribution to addressing the detrimental impact of obesity on individuals and communities.

In a motion passed 67 to 61 at the National General Assembly of Local Government on Tuesday (November 28), delegates requested that the Federal Government provide $50 million each year for four years to fund significant eligible local government projects for providing cycling and walking infrastructure.

The mover of the motion, from Wollondilly Shire Council in NSW, said the funding could be allocated on a national basis along the lines of the Roads to Recovery program – creating ‘Cycleways to Recovery’ – and would create a deliberate, strategic plan to put in quality facilities and get people cycling.

Local government could use the funding to achieve quiet and safe alternative local transport routes; provide active recreational opportunities for residents and visitors; and create facilities that enhance community members’ physical and mental wellbeing.

Projects could include construction and maintenance of shared cycling and walking paths, on-road or off-road cycle lanes, facilities such as bike parking or shade and feasibility studies for large infrastructure projects involving walking and cycling.

During debate of the motion, some delegates expressed concern that walking and cycleways were not a priority for their area, with descriptions of the level of proposed funding as “over the top” and “all that money to go walking down the street”.

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