Active Whitehorse News – October 2022

An impressive policy outcome

Selling the car as the mobility solution for our cities was probably one of the most impressive policy scams of the 20th century.
Twitter @fietsprofessor (video excerpt – approx. 1 minute – from an @Uber commercial)

What are your thoughts? Click here to comment on this.


A very special event?

(video by Oto Ozols)

No…not a special event. Just the morning drop off at the British school in Amsterdam.
What does your neighbourhood school look like at morning drop-off time?
What is your Council doing about it?
What are YOU doing about it?

Here’s some reasons why everyone should be doing something about it. Read about the many Benefits of Physical Activity for Children and Youth (see article below).

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This IS a special event

Whitehorse Spring Festival 2022 – This year’s Spring Festival theme of Our Backyard celebrates the community coming together and enjoying the collective backyard we all share – Whitehorse!

Nunawading Community Hub & Tunstall Park – 96-106 Springvale Rd, Nunawading VIC

Come along to this FREE event and explore over 50 stalls our wonderful community has to offer.

Enjoy an exciting mix of live music and dancing with 35 local artists and community groups performing across 5 stages.

Keep the kids entertained all day with free rides, face painting, activities, and a selection of delicious food and treats.

When: Sunday 23 October 2022, Time: 10am-4pm Admission: Free

More information here:

There’s NO PARKING available and street parking will be limited. So its an ideal opportunity to get out your bikes or take a stroll.

It’s a perfect opportunity to test out how well ACTIVE TRANSPORT works for you!

Look for the WATAG stall. It’s stall No 47 in Tunstall Park. Come and say hello!

Getting Physical

Last newsletter featured an article about Professor Anna Timperio from Deakin University to coming to talk about activity and health – especially for children to local community members.

As well as an enjoyable Sip’n’Nibble we had a feast of information from Anna, including some very timely warnings about children’s health.

Physical Activity Among Children and Youth is such an important topic because it has so much effect on their health and well-being. See the image blow.

Deakin University is not only a world class centre of excellence in this field – it’s local. So we have the benefit of not just reading the first-rate academic papers the researchers publish, but also of hearing the messages from them personally. I don’t know about you, but if I hear a message personally from someone who is an expert, and I can discuss the matter with them, that’s streets ahead of reading a manuscript! And if they are local and understand the community in which we live – what a bonus.

When Professor Anna Timperio from Deakin came to our Community Chat meeting arranged by WATAG at Blackburn Lake Visitor Centre, she shared her knowledge with a local audience.  Anna is not only Deputy Director of the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN)– a world recognised centre of excellence – she’s a Whitehorse resident and a mother of school-age children who move around in our local community. Her expertise is not only academic!

Anna emphasised the benefits of children becoming far more active than currently is the trend.

Here’s the latest “Report Card” on how Australia is embracing the need for more physical activity by children.

It’s time to “pull up our socks” because we are not doing very well!

Anna and her colleagues at Deakin University play a leading role in the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance. This Report Card information is online at their website.

With climate change it has taken years, and a looming catastrophe which is now obvious, to get real recognition and action by Governments.  With health where we have an even greater personal responsibility, Governments have made the information available. But are they sending the right messages to us? Because we don’t seem to be taking notice.

The Royal Children’s Hospital National Child Health Poll reports that 71% of children DON’T regularly walk or ride to school. Among those parents who reported driving by car as the most common mode of travel to school, the reason for doing so included:

  • Driving is the quickest form of transport (52%)
  • Driving is the safest form of transport (48%)
  • Driving fits in with the family schedule (46%)
  • Driving is a way to spend time with my child (19%)
  • Driving is my child’s preference (15%)

It looks like no-one said “I’m driving my child to school because it’s best for their development and health”. Since “spending time with my child” is important, surely a walk or ride to school with a child would be a far better way to spend time together than in a supposedly quick journey in a car, often in congested traffic?

Safety is shown in the survey as a big reason. Which is why it’s vital that governments, at all levels, match their messages about the health benefits of activity and active travel with policies and budget allocations to make it safer and more convenient  for all to walk and ride.

I’m reminded of Joe Biden’s quote about 10 years ago “Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value”.

There’s no shortage of resources to confirm what the experts are saying. But are we listening?

For a deeper look and many links to advice and research, visit this page at our website.

What are your thoughts? Click here to comment on this.

How active are you?

Here’s another excellent resource: Physical activity and exercise guidelines for all Australians with recommendations for all age groups.

Click here to comment.

All you have to do it ask

Sometimes a very valuable and learned thesis by academic researcher can be a little uninviting to read. Usually because a PhD thesis has to comply with the strict conventions required by tertiary institutions.
Not any more it seems.

Here’s how Himashini Whitley, a PhD student at Deakin University introduces her thesis – with help from her little daughter Amaya. Its short delightful video with a great message.
Himashini was Winner – Deakin University VYT (Visualise Your Thesis) local competition (2022).


It’s a great message! Well done Himashini Whitley.

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Community in Action

We asked the local community a question:
“Should it be safe to cross Blackburn Rd?”
See the item in our last newsletter.
And the local community have sprung into action to say, quite resoundingly:


Using social media and emails, we sent the following message asking people to sign a petition.

“This section of State Highway in suburban Melbourne is 1.4km without a safe crossing. This forces parents with young children, elderly people, walkers and cyclists to cross the road at midway points without guidance. No other State Highways in this region have such an extended distance between safe crossing points.”This section of State Highway in suburban Melbourne is 1.4km without a safe crossing. This forces parents with young children, elderly people, walkers and cyclists to cross the road at midway points without guidance. No other State Highways in this region have such an extended distance between safe crossing points.

Everyone of all ages should be able to cross with safety.

You can help by signing a petition. You will be joining with others in the community to ask the Decision Makers – Whitehorse City Council & Victorian Department of Transport (DoT) – to work collaboratively together to make these crossing points safe for people of all ages and ability.

You can sign too at:

Please add comments too, saying why you think a change is needed. And don’t forget that ALL members inn your household can have their say too.

What are your thoughts? Click here to comment on this.

A good strategy

City of Whitehorse has a very active Community Engagement (see next article) program asking for YOUR views on a wide range of matters – particularly when they are developing new strategies.

How Open Space is allocated for transport and recreation is something you can now comment on.

Or… a slightly more restrained way (than a WANTED poster) of asking for help:

WATAG really encourages you to click on the link and let Council know your views on this important aspect of how you feel about open space use in Whitehorse.Click to Have Your Say

How we allocate space to sporting fields, to parks, to cars and roads, to places for people to enjoy in city centres is critical to the kind of community in which we all want to live.

Click here to comment on this.

An engaging idea

As noted above City of Whitehorse has a very active Community Engagement program.
Through 2021-2022 the officers have been working towards development of a comprehensive community engagement policy and has consulted the community in the process. This culminated in the launch of its 74-page Community Engagement Handbook for use by community groups and Council staff.

  • What is it all about?
  • How does it work?
  • Will it make a difference?
  • How can you be involved?

This seminar arranged by CROWAG introduces you to the Handbook and Council’s ambitions for improved community engagement and offers an opportunity to explore how it can be done well.

Whitehorse Community Engagement Practices’

  • When – Tuesday 25th of October, 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm
  • WhereBlackburn Lake Visitor Centre.
  • Topic – ‘Whitehorse Community Engagement Practices’
  • Manager Community Engagement
  • Presenters – Debbie Seddon (Whitehorse Community Engagement Practices Manager) and Ryan Hood (Coordinator Policy, Planning & Engagement at Whitehorse)
  • RSVP by 23rd October – attendance allocated on a ‘first in’ basis. Bookings essential.

Please email or call CROWAG Secretary, on 0400 085 549 to confirm attendance.

Click here to comment.

Keep thinking

And while you are thinking strategically about open space use, check out this opportunity to have YourSay to Whitehorse Council and it’s budgeting priorities.

WATAG highlighted the great inequity of capital expenditure in Whitehorse in 2019 and again in 2020.

It favours organised sport expenditure over monies allocated to the majority of the community’s participation in non-formal outdoor and bike-related activities.

The graph shows that 18% of the population will receive a massive 79% of the budget related to recreation.

Why does a footballer, golfer, swimmer or other sport participant requiring specialized infrastructure have such an advantage over the rest of the community who like to walk, ride or simply enjoy our parks for leisure?

WATAG is NOT against sport participation, but this situation is simply not equitable, and it’s a persistent inequity evident for years now.

Davy Lane is an important part of the Healesville Freeway Reserve (see article below) which is about to be “developed” by Parks Victoria – except for Davy Lane which is a Whitehorse Council responsibility.

So… what’s proposed for Davy Lane Reserve?
More formal sporting fields!

Here’s some alternate ideas:

An adventure playground such as exists at Valley Reserve Mt Waverley, and a skate park similar to the one at cnr of Middleborough Rd & Canterbury Rd.

This should be accompanied by extensive shade tree planting, and natural landscaping to make the site attractive to attract visitors and also help reverse the declining Urban tree cover in Whitehorse.

You will have your own ideas. Click here to Have Your Say and tell Council what you think about Davy Lane Reserve.

ALSO please tell Council what you think the budget priorities should be. Naturally we recommend a much greater emphasis on infrastructure that promotes walking, cycling and safe, active use of streets and parks.

Click here to contribute your ideas for budget planning..

What are your thoughts about this article? Click here to comment.

Your local street?


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What is a safe active street?

Image credit: Bicycle Network

As part of the Department of Transport’s Safe Active Streets program, the Western Australia Government is set to drop speeds to 30 km/h on more streets across Perth and the regions to make roads safer for bike riders and pedestrians.

The Safe Active Streets Pilot Program began in 2015 and has already developed 10 safe active streets which have seen huge increases in active transport. Based on this success, the government plans to reduce the speed limits on 11 more streets. 

Along with reducing the speed limit to 30 km/h, a range of treatments are used such as narrowing road widths, implementing slow points and changing intersections to create an environment where vehicles will naturally travel at 30 km/h.

WATAG totally endorses the world-wide move to 30km local streets, and Australian kids do too.
We’ve written about it before.

Read the full Bicycle Network article here

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A goldfish’s view of electric cars
(or… do electric cars have a role to play in climate policy?)

Earth’s ecosystem is a big version of a goldfish bowl.
There is no use cleaning one corner of a goldfish bowl.
It’s an all or nothing situation.

So, if we:

  • had enough minerals in the earth’s crust to make a billion cars every few years forever, and
  • could make a billion cars every few years without exploiting some peoples for the sake of others, and
  • if we had enough of those minerals to build all of the power plants and supply lines to power the cars and our consumptive lifestyles forever, and
  • if electric cars were different from normal cars and didn’t need tyres or road lanes or parking…

…then they would be a great idea.

But including electric cars as climate policy means we are cleaning up our own corner of the goldfish bowl by stealing our favourite resources from another corner of the bowl, leaving the whole goldfish bowl more polluted than when we started.

And all the goldfish will die.

This is reproduced from a recent post on LinkedIn with permission from Bridget Doran.
Bridget is a Chartered Member, Engineering NZ; Chair, Engineering NZ Transportation Group; and Principal Researcher for MRCagney.

If we all really tried to use and promote Active Transport more, and use far fewer cars, maybe the goldfish would be happier!

Radical? Maybe you’d like to click here and comment on this.

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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Healesville Freeway Reserve
Will we get a great result?

The Eastsider News edition shown above has an excellent article on page 11 about the development plans. Parks Victoria has now released a Concept Design Report and draft Park Layout Plan. and Engage Victoria is asking for your input. Click here to find our what they say and then have your say.

We’ve already given them our thoughts:

1. The plans for Davey Lane area are inappropriate (see above Keep thinking). The community needs informal Active Play areas that attract children and youth rather than adding to large number of formal sports ovals and pavilions already in Whitehorse. An adventure playground such as exists at Valley Reserve Mt Waverley and other places in Melbourne, and a skate park similar to the one at cnr of Middleborough Rd & Canterbury Rd would be far more appropriate, together with extensive shade tree planting to help reverse the declining Urban tree cover in Whitehorse. A public toilet facility is a ‘must’ for this area. The shared path should be along the northern boundary to minimise further destruction of remnant vegetation, and have the path on the uphill side of the reserve to minimise drainage issues

2. The route through Bellbird Dell is quite inadequate. It will have a disastrous effect on vegetation and totally spoil the environmental values of the park. Its grades are also quite inappropriate  for general shared path use. The path must be accessible to all users, from 8 – 80 ,  by the disabled, by families with prams etc.. A high level long-span suspension bridge is essential, with no footings in the steep valley.

3. It is quite inappropriate that the shared path deviates at the east end to be routed along Boronia Rd – a busy and dangerous road for all classes of path users. It is essential that the path should continue east, rather than deviate north, and connect via a new bridge over Dandenong Creek with the Dandenong Creek Trail.

We invite you to give your thoughts too!


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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.

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