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Promoting cycling for a healthy lifestyle

FOLLOWING a decision at the July meeting of Wollongong City Council, there is to be a new Active Transport Council Reference Group.

The group will include three councillors and community members with an interest in promoting cycling and walking in Wollongong.

Greens Councillor Jill Merrin said she is pleased that the Council has agreed to form this reference group.

“It will be up and running soon, after we have advertised for community members to join the Group,” Cr Merrin said.

“One of the Greens’ key policies which we took to last year’s Council election was to support active transport. This means improving the cycling and walking pathways and linkages, making it safer to walk and ride, as well as providing for more bike parking in the city. Also, by  promoting ‘end of trip facilities’ at workplaces, like showers and bike parking, people are more likely to ride to work.”

Cr Merrin said there are many benefits to using active transport.

“Not only does it improve peoples’ fitness and reduce obesity, but it also helps the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing road congestion and road accidents,” she said.

“We can also improve neighbourhood safety and strengthen communities when people get out of their cars and start to walk or ride around their local areas.”

During the consultation for Wollongong’s new Community Plan, community comments were strongly in favour of making footpaths and cyclepaths a  high priority. “We have responded to this strong call by increasing the budget allocation for footpath and cyclepath infrastructure,” Cr Merrin said.

One of the Active Transport Reference Group’s first jobs will be to review and reinvigorate Wollongong’s Bike Plan, which has lapsed since 2011. “The Group will help to make sure Council continues to respond to the community’s wishes for more opportunities for active living, recreation, commuting and tourism”.

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.

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