Amherst takes strong look at its ‘walkability’
Public input wanted Thursday to make community more active
It’s the easiest, cheapest way to get around but little has been done to plan for its future – until now.
The Town of Amherst hosted a workshop dedicated the oldest method of mobility this month and start the discussion how it can plan for a better walking experience in the future. Brought forward by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the discussion saw partners with the Town of Amherst, the SOAR Community Health Board and more explore the benefits of a community that has “walkability.”
“The No. 1 choice for physical activity and accessibility for active transportation is walking,” Amherst’s recreation director Bill Schurman said during a break at the Community Credit Union Business Innovation Centre June 1. “These seminars have been going on around the province and we were lucky enough to have one come to Amherst.”
Municipal planning takes a look at the needs of today and projects the needs of tomorrow. For many decades that planning relied heavily on the success and popularity of the automobile but today there is a defining trend moving away from automobile ownership by younger generations and a rise in commuter services like Uber and Rideshare, meaning more will be looking to active transportation for the small distances they travel in the not so distant future. All that means good things for the health of a community. Michael Todd with Health and Stroke Foundation said.
“It is clear trough research physical activity is going to decrease a persons risk of heart disease and stroke by a huge percentage, therefor putting the investment into getting people active in a variety of ways is crucially important,” Todd said. “We have the Walkability program all over Nova Scotia, and that’s a training leaders to create walking groups and getting people active.”
On the horizon for Amherst is an active transportation public meeting June 8 at the Community Credit Union Business Innovation Centre (a.k.a the old town hall). The public is encouraged to show up for the 7 p.m. consultation and add their voice to what changes they would like to see, or not see, for active transportation in the community.