Active Whitehorse News – February 2023

An old story?

Being active as you age, is a treat,
It’s a way to keep fit and stay neat,
It prevents aches and pains,
And relieves mental strains,
So you’ll feel youthful, energetic, and fleet!

Yes, to grow older it’s a delight
To hop on a bike, and pedal with might,
It’s energetic enough
To get rid of your ‘puff’,
With a heart that is young and a body so light!


Presented in conjunction with Whitehorse City Council

E-trikes and e-bikes can be a good option to help older people keep active, as they provide assistance with pedaling, making physical activity easier and more accessible. This can help to improve overall health and well-being, and may also increase mobility and independence. However, it’s important to consider the individual’s specific needs and abilities before purchasing an e-trike or e-bike, and to ensure that they receive proper training and support for safe use. So…come to the EXPO and talk to us!

Click here for more information,

We’d love to have your comments. Click here to let us know what YOU think.


Cancer research

Exercise suppresses cancer, even in advanced stages

A study reported by Bicycle Network has shown that exercise can help suppress cancer even in advanced stages. The study found that regular physical activity can slow down the progression of cancer and improve the quality of life for those suffering from the disease. The results suggest that exercise can be a beneficial complementary treatment for cancer patients, regardless of the stage of the disease. The study was conducted at Edith Cowan University.

The study found that high-intensity interval aerobic exercise led to an increase in serum myokine levels and resulted in a tumour-suppressive effect. The findings suggest that high-intensity interval aerobic exercise may be a promising complementary treatment for advanced prostate cancer patients and could lead to improved outcomes for patients.

Image Credit: Bicycle Network

Studies by Deakin University’s IPAN (Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition) have also shown that exercise can have a positive impact on combating the effects of prostate cancer. Exercise has been found to improve physical functioning, quality of life, and psychological well-being in prostate cancer patients. It can also help to reduce fatigue, improve sleep quality, and maintain muscle mass and bone density. Regular physical activity is also associated with a lower risk of recurrence and improved survival outcomes in prostate cancer patients. It is recommended that prostate cancer patients engage in moderate-intensity aerobic and resistance exercise under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Refer also to:

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Scooting around

Photo credit: A man riding a hire scooter without a helmet in the CBD.Credit:Luis Ascui The Age January 6, 2023

Micro-mobility is contentious because e-scooters can be threatening to pedestrians. It is claimed that using e-scooters is a replacement for short car trips and therefore environmentally sound. But these claims are generally made by scooter hire companies who stand to profit from e-scooter use. There is a trial in Melbourne. Is there any unbiased research on the usage and benefits and disadvantages?

Read more here…

Do you have a view? Click here to tell us.

Back to school

But will it be different from previous years?

Much has been written about the Covid effects of children missing vital experiences at school due to Covid-created absences. One very positive effect of Covid was that, early on at least in Victoria, there were no cars on our local streets and children could go out and about with their parents and use the streets with much increased safety.

Image credit: Unknown source

Now that all seems ‘normal’ again, will the community forget the positive aspects and revert to old habits by driving children to school instead of encouraging walking or riding, or even scooting?

The practice of children walking or cycling to school has so many benefits, both for the individual child and for the community as a whole. We’ve highlighted these amazing benefits before. But it’s worth reiterating them so we don’t go back to our old pre-Covid ways. Check these out:

We think these are excellent resources, but please click HERE for MORE.

Oh… and Click here to tell us your thoughts.

Take away the cars

New research claims London’s roads are the most congested in the world. But rather than wasting money and emissions building new roads in self-defeating attempts to reduce the time that Londoners who drive spend in traffic jams, politicians should be doing the exact opposite. Managed strategically, congestion is critical in supporting the transition to safe, sustainable transport.

Image credit:

In a recent article in, Phineas Harper* suggests that politicians should use road congestion as a tool for creating more sustainable urban transport instead of trying to reduce it in the short term. Only 20% of Londoners commute by car, but 12.4% of the capital’s land is taken up by roads, significantly more than the 8.8% of land used for housing. A new Silvertown Tunnel will cost over £1bn and increase East End traffic. No amount of new roads will eliminate congestion as the more roads built, the more people drive, due to “induced demand”. Cutting car use is not only about reducing exhaust fumes but also creating sustainable cities. Car-based urbanism is inherently unsustainable and creates low-density, inefficient and dangerous cities. Instead of building new roads, city planners should remove land from the road network to decrease car use in the long term. Harper suggests that removing lanes from inner city highways can quickly reduce traffic by 14% without deterioration in traffic conditions.

Read the full article here.

Of course Melbourne and it suburbs, or other cities in Australia are not London. But we do share a common history of transport and urban development, and a consequently share lot of the same congestion problems London experiences. Perhaps the US influence on Australia has made us even more car-dependent and consequently, as a society, we are even more reluctant than the British to give up the open space which has been given up to cars over the last century.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary – as explained in a WATAG newsletter Why Walkable Streets are More Economically Productive – ask most local traders to give up a car parking space!

Australian Heart Foundation’s research backs this up. Check out this article from our newsletter in October 2018. …its Good for Business

Let’s make 2023 the year when we build on the ‘tactical urbanism‘ inspired pop-up restaurant areas, bike lanes and walkable spaces, and work towards making them a permanent part of out communities.

*Phineas Harper is director of Open City and formerly deputy director of the Architecture Foundation. He is author of the Architecture Sketchbook (2015) and People’s History of Woodcraft Folk (2016).

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Too much traffic?

This is from our last newsletter (and others in earlier years too).
We can’t resist showing you again as a most appropriate follow-on from the two items above.

Click here to review it again.

The message is so simple, it’s a wonder that everyone doesn’t understand it – and ACT on it.

Click here to give feedback on this.

A well earned award

Each year Whitehorse City Council presents Civic Achievement Awards to citizens who have made a notable contribution to the community. At the Council’s 2023 Australia Day ceremony at Tunstall Park beside the Nunawading Community Hub, a really well-earned Award was presented to David Berry.

Photo credit: Helen Trueman. David Berry and his wife Sally

For over 20 years until 2021, David served as the president of the Blackburn and District Tree Preservation Society (BDTPS). In that time, David became the go-to expert on many contentious issues about tree removals. He lobbied endlessly for conservation and appropriate development and for the protection of trees, wrote numerous objections and was a regular at VCAT hearings. He edited 80 editions of the BDTPS newsletter, these are a valuable natural history record.

He authored the definitive ‘Fighting for the Trees’ – a comprehensive history of BDTPS.

David’s leadership led to BDTPS being awarded the prestigious Victorian Urban Landcare Award presented by the Governor of Victoria, the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, at Government House in September 2017.

CROWAG – an umbrella organisation in Whitehorse strongly supported by WATAG – recently honoured David’s contributions to the community and CROWAG by making him the inaugural recipient of their Annual Volunteers Award (Environment and Biodiversity).

WATAG owes its existence to the foresight by David, who met some like minded community activists when appointed a member of the Whitehorse Council’s Bicycle Advisory Committee (COWBAC) in 2012, and worked with them to form WATAG in 2017 when the Council disbanded COWBAC in 2016.

After decades in Blackburn, David recently moved suburbs to be nearer to family, and resigned from the WATAG Committee. His wise counsel is sorely missed.

WATAG applauds and celebrates David Berry as a shining example of the ultimate community carer.

Go well in your future life David!

Click here if you’d like to comment.

Top 10 child health problems

What Australian parents think

The RCH National Child Health Poll of March 2021 reported that traditional health concerns for children have dropped to the bottom of the concern list for parents.
Modifiable lifestyle factors including poor diet, lack of activity and screen time are worrying parents most.

Given the articles above, and the great resources linked to in out last Newsletter with so much information about children, the benefits of being active, and some of the ways for us all to embrace the idea of children feeling safe, confident and able to walk or ride around their local neighbourhoods, the RCH poll is a timely reminder.

Check out the Top 10 Poll results here.

Of course a great way to enable children to have more activity in their lives is to encourage walking to school. The Poll conducted by RCH researchers in 2019 has some telling results.

Scroll though their findings below.

Now… as a concerned reader of this Newsletter, whether you are a parent, grand parent, Councillor, Council Officer, or just a concerned citizen, what are YOU going to do to try and reverse this alarming trend?

Read about the Merri-bek Ride and Stride program in the last Newsletter and ask your local Councillor why we are not also doing this in Whitehorse.

Ana check out the Starting small idea below

Click here to tell us your thoughts.

Starting small

Click here to give your thoughts.

Underwater bike parking

More information here

Do you think that the odd humble bike hoop we have here in most locations in Australia look a little last-century compared with the thinking behind this project?

Click here to give your views.

Walk fast age slower

Credit: WEF – Click to view this excellent short video

We can’t help it, but this article is so good that it’s a direct repeat of the same article last Newsletter!
The World Economic Forum (WEF) doesn’t just look a the health of economies, they look at the health of people who make up those economies. A particularly good article from WEF ask the question:
What are green prescriptions and which countries offer them

If you didn’t read the link last time, why not do it now. It is excellent reading

Click here to comment on this.

Efficient use of space?


Click here to comment on this.

Thanks Esme

My name is Sara and I am 53 years old; I moved to Melbourne from Perth, WA in July 2020 – the weekend the lockdown with curfew was announced!
To that point I had been a lifelong commuter cyclist, but working from home put a stop to that, and my cycling activity (and my fitness) diminished significantly through the pandemic. I also contracted COVID19 late in the piece, and realised that I had incurred some lung damage as a result when, differently to before it, I found myself becoming breathless on the slightest exertion.

Photo credit: Sara and Esme!

I was able to return to working in the office (which was then 8km from home) in April of this year (2022), so naturally I hopped on my bike on day 1, only to find I couldn’t make it without a lot of stops. I persevered for a few weeks but things didn’t get any better, so I went to my local cycle dealer to try out an e-bike. I had intended just to get some information but in fact chose and paid for one that day (a Sunday) and collected it a few days later complete with a set of panniers.

It took a little time to get used to which level of assistance to use when, but the joy I used to get from riding came back within seconds of taking her (‘Esme the e-bike’) out the first time. I have ridden just about every day since then, and the gradients and hills I struggled with previously because of my respiratory issue are now no challenge. As I write now in November 2022, my fitness has definitely improved because I now don’t use as much assistance as I did when I started.

Esme quickly became my main form of transport and in fact I have recently moved to an outer suburb and sold my car now, because I am within an e-bike ride of shops and other amenities, trains and a park & ride, and I found I just wasn’t using it.

Having Esme has definitely meant the difference between me continuing to cycle or abandoning it, so for anyone who is finding ‘normal’ cycling a struggle for whatever reason, I cannot recommend an e-bike more highly.  



Sara wrote this for the WATAG Newsletter after visiting the WATAG stall at the Whitehorse Spring Festival 2022. She said she’d like to “submit a short story for WATAG use about why I (as an older person) chose to get an electric bike and my experience of using it”

Now you too can get inspired by visiting the e-Bike/e-Trike Expo on March 26th at Nunawading Community Hub. Click here to review the details in the lead article above.

Click here to have your say..

Save our Canopy Trees

You might have noticed that the WATAG by-line on every page is:
“Active transport for a healthy, environmentally friendly community”.
We think that trees are an essential part of a healthy, environmentally friendly community.
So we’re sure you won’t mind us encouraging you to attend this public forum on 1st April.

CROWAG is a non-political, peak organisation in Whitehorse. WATAG is a member.
It advocates for the entire community and its well-being. Our members and affiliate groups have rated Tree Canopy Loss as a major concern. CROWAG has lobbied Council and The State Planning department to improve compliance and enforcement of existing rules and to strengthen policies to better protect tree canopy. Tree canopy has many social and physical benefits notably shading our increasingly heated suburbs. 

CROWAG has arranged some impressive speakers for its Forum on 1st April. They will cover the impacts of canopy loss and associated issues, how Councils and the State Planning authority are addressing tree canopy loss and what can be done to empower community action.

Our keynote speaker is Dr Greg Moore OAM, chair of the National Trust of Victoria’s Register of Significant Trees committee and a senior research associate at University of Melbourne, (Ecosystem and Forest Sciences), Burnley Campus.

Click here to book your place

Eastsider News – not to be missed

Click here to subscribe to get Eastsider News delivered to your inbox every two months. Its FREE!

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Interested in being Active too? Here’s how

Join as a WATAG Member and help the whole community to be active.
See above

Join a local group that enables you to be active and social too!

  1. Like walking (and some bike riding too)?
If you want to enjoy the great outdoors, meet new people and take up a physical activity for your health then explore the MWBC website.(Click image above)

2. Or is regular bike riding your idea of fun?

Whitehorse cyclists
We are a happy group of men and women who love the outdoors, enjoy riding bicycles and thrive in other people’s company.

Image credit: Chris Trueman

Bike parking is easy for morning tea time at Aqualink Box Hill during a Whitehorse Cyclist’s Easy Tuesday ride.
Around 25 riders getting fitter and enjoying the company of friends.
Good for local business too by putting money back into the local community.

Some questions for YOU

  1. If you HAVEN’T received these newsletters regularly every two months, this question is for YOU.

Did you enjoy THIS newsletter, and would you like to read future newsletters every two months?

Just click the button below.

You’ll enjoy it!

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