The Vermilion Health Coalition hosted a WalkABle Alberta session at the Vermilion Regional Centre on October 10.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) sponsored the event; and health promotion facilitator, Graham Matsalla, presented the workshop along with guest speaker, Ryan Martinson, from Stantec. Staff and councillors from the Town of Vermilion and members of Alberta Health Services, the Vermilion Health Coalition, senior’s care, and a town resident were in attendance.
The workshop focused on identifying necessary improvements and encouraging people to walk within Vermilion through well designed sidewalks, trails, directional signage, etc. thereby promoting health and a sustainable walking community.
Mayor McAuley signed the International Charter for Walking Principals on behalf the community to assist Vermilion with focusing policies, activities and relationships to create a culture where people choose to walk.
Matsalla photographed areas within Vermilion that showed how residents commute by foot. His photos also identified shortcomings in areas where sidewalks and trails end creating “walking roadblocks” ie: train, crossing designs, walking signage, cross walk safety, wheel chair access, etc.
“It was very well attended and everyone there is committed to making Vermilion a healthier community that supports walkability. It is important to consider walkability in communities to ensure that our communities continue to be great places where people want to live, work, and play. Better walkability can improve the economic, social, and equity in communities. Vermilion has joined 20 other communities throughout Alberta who have worked with WalkABle Alberta,” said Matsalla.
For the Town of Vermilion, the following principles were covered through the interactive workshop:
a) increased inclusive mobility
b) well designed and managed spaces and places for people
c) improved integration of networks
d) supportive land-use and spatial planning
e) reduces road danger
f) less crime and fear of crime
g) more supportive authorities
h) a culture of walking
According to Councillor Robert Pulyk, participants developed action items relating to each principle for our community. He noted that Town Council will be receiving an executive report later this year from Matsalla’s complied data.
“From my perspective, this workshop provided valuable concepts, designs and sound technical guidelines from a health perspective that the Town of Vermilion can adopt to encourage our residents to walk. I’m looking forward to the final WalkABle Alberta report from Alberta Health Services for our community,” said Robert Pulyk, Councillor for the Town of Vermilion.