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Active transportation grant received

Active transportation grant received

Langdale Elementary is one of 10 schools in the province being awarded a 2021 Active School Travel Pilot Program grant. It will be receiving $10,000 from the BC Healthy Communities Society. The funding will be used for initiatives to encourage more Coast students to travel on foot, via foot-powered wheels or on public transit on their trips to and from school.
The announcement was made by the school’s Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) on Dec. 20. The PAC applied for the grant as a follow-up to a webinar it co-hosted with Vancouver Coastal Health in October. That session revealed that only 18 percent of Coast school students travel actively from their homes to their classrooms. It discussed the benefits of that activity and methods that could be used to increase the number of Coast students that take part in it.
PAC member Miyuki Shinkai reported that the budget for their program would likely be finalized in February. The funding can be used for a range of activities. These include paying for a crosswalk guard to help children cross vehicle lanes safely at school arrival and departure times, workshops around safe cycling and walking practices, along with public outreach and education on how active travel to school can benefit children. The group will be making use of resources that School District #46 has available on the subject in Coast-wide poster and promotion
Another initiative that will be promoted is the “walking school bus” concept, where the safety of students walking to school is improved by having them travel as a group. She is hopeful that parents and other neighbours looking to make good on their New Year’s resolutions to get more exercise will be willing to volunteer to walk with and supervise students in this activity.
As an education assistant at Langdale Elementary, Shinkai has seen how outdoor activity can help build a young person’s confidence and ability to learn. She noted that many area families struggle to pay for programs to help their children build those skills. “Walking to school doesn’t cost anything, unlike most organized sport or other activities,” said Shinkai.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is funding the active travel pilot project as part of the Province’s CleanBC plan and Active Transportation Strategy. That strategy is committed to investing in ways to make it easier for people to commute to work or school using active transportation methods. Its goal is to help improve the health of residents through increased physical activity and protect healthy air quality by reducing pollution from motor vehicle
Introducing the strategy in June 2019, then Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena committed to “giving more people the opportunity to choose an active mode of travel.” By 2030, the province has set a target of doubling the proportion of trips taken using active transportation.
Connie Jordison

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