Health unit urges kids to walk and wheel

Two-year project re­ceives $100,000 On­tario Ac­tive School Travel grant

North Bay Nugget - - NEWS - Nugget Staff

North Bay will soon see a boost in ac­tive trans­porta­tion with a project de­signed to en­cour­age stu­dents to walk and wheel to school.

The two-year project will work with up to 10 schools, en­cour­ag­ing fam­i­lies to choose ac­tive trans­porta­tion to and from school, as well as ad­dress road safety through in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments and skills devel­op­ment.

“To im­prove over­all health, school-aged chil­dren are en­cour­aged to get at least 60 min­utes of moder­ate to vig­or­ous phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity per day,” says Maxime Comeau, com­mu­nity health pro­moter at the North Bay Parry Sound Dis­trict Health unit. “Ac­tive school travel helps kids meet this goal, and will also re­duce traf­fic and pol­lu­tion, cre­ate safer school zones, in­crease aca­demic per­for­mance and im­prove chil­dren’s health.”

The health unit has ini­ti­ated part­ner­ships with school ad­min­is­tra­tors, teach­ers, par­ents and the city to im­ple­ment an ac­tive school travel pro­gram from May 2018 to June 2020. This project is be­ing sup­ported through a $100,000 grant from On­tario Ac­tive School Travel, a Green Com­mu­ni­ties Canada pro­gram that is made pos­si­ble thanks to a three-year, $3.5-mil­lion fed­eral trans­fer.

“In re­cent decades, we have seen a sig­nif­i­cant de­cline in walk­ing to school among chil­dren across the prov­ince,” says Kate Berry, pro­gram di­rec­tor with Green Com­mu­ni­ties Canada. “This ini­tia­tive, in­clud­ing On­tario gov­ern­ment fund­ing and rich lo­cal part­ner­ships, is a great op­por­tu­nity to re­verse this down­ward trend and re­build a cul­ture of ac­tive school travel. We look for­ward to col­lab­o­rat­ing with and sup­port­ing our lo­cal part­ners in North Bay to im­ple­ment this ex­cit­ing project.”

Par­ents are en­cour­aged to get in­volved in the school-led ini­tia­tives by join­ing the school travel plan­ning com­mit­tees, and iden­ti­fy­ing safety haz­ards around schools to guide im­prove­ments.

For more in­for­ma­tion, call the health unit at 705-474-1400 or 1-800-563-2808, or learn more at my­healthu­nit.ca.

www.on­tar­ioac­tiveschooltravel.ca

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