The Health Benefits of a Walkable White Rock
I love living in a walkable city like White Rock. Being able to walk to Laura’s Coffee Shop for coffee, the library, Grey Haven Hobbies to buy comic books and more helps keep me active and keep the pounds off! While there is certainly room for improvement and challenges to maintaining the city’s walkability, White Rock scored high in a recent Metro Vancouver Regional District Planning Committee report on the issue.
The benefits of living in a walkable area are numerous. I personally have lost weight while walking around White Rock. The MVRD’s report on the issue saw that more walkable areas were “associated with lower rates of diabetes, hypertension, stress, and obesity”.
Interestingly, and a topic for another time, access to parks also “is significantly associated with physical activity and lower rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stress”.
Increasing White Rock’s walkability is a priority for me. The main issue, as I see it, is how do you easily get people from down the hill to up the hill and so forth. Our geography divides us in this way and presents a challenge. The city has tried a trolley service during the summer, with mixed success. I certainly don’t fault them for the effort, and I am supportive of such attempts at increasing the ease of moving up and down our hill.
We also face a few challenges in maintaining our current level of walkability.
First is the nuts and bolts day-to-day issue of maintenance of sidewalks and pathways in our city. Ensuring that when there’s an issue that impedes pedestrian progress the city is able to fix it quickly. I’ve proposed an overhaul of the city’s method of reporting, tracking and responding to issues like potholes, broken sidewalks, burnt out streetlights and so forth in my policies.
The other issue is that we need to do better to ensure that development is done in a thoughtful and considered way, scheduled better so that as we build towards the future of White Rock we’re not obstructing the present. The city needs to work with developers to ensure that disruptions to pedestrian pathways are minimized and that safe and efficient alternate routes are provided at all times.
We should not have residents falling due to ill-considered pedestrian pathways during development.
On October 20th I hope that you elect me, and other councillors who support a walkable White Rock for us all.