Walking Strategy for South Australia – open for consultation

After working in partnership across-government, engaging with stakeholders and reviewing the best available evidence and evidence-based practice, a draft Walking Strategy for South Australia has been developed. The Strategy will help to guide the planning, building and creation of walkable environments for all South Australians. Community feedback on the draft Strategy is being sought by 17 October 2021 on yourSAy which can be accessed via yoursay.sa.gov.au/south-australian-walking-strategy

Walking is an inclusive and accessible activity that allows people to get from one place to another, can improve their health and wellbeing and provide them with an enjoyable way of spending their leisure time.

When we talk about walking, we also include jogging, running and moving with a pram or pusher, or moving with the aid of a mobility device such as a wheelchair, walking frame or the like.

Supporting more people walking more often; all ages all abilities can lead to multiple benefits to be experienced by all South Australians, including:

  • Social benefits – improved health and wellbeing, increased safety, positive placemaking and increased social cohesion.
  • Economic benefits – increased city attractiveness, boosting the local economy, increased urban regeneration and cost savings; and
  • Environmental benefits – reducing greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, increased benefits to people from the natural environment, improved liveability and improved transport efficiency.

The draft South Australian Walking Strategy 2022-2032 has been developed in such a way to unite cross-government departments and agencies, key stakeholders, providers, funders and interest groups to better enable:

  • Walking for Transport – more South Australians making short trips by walking.
  • Walking for Health – more South Australians with better health and wellbeing through walking.
  • Walking for Recreation and Sport – more South Australians accessing green open space for walking.

Get involved

To find out more please:

Have your say

Two recent walking surveys tell the story: If we don’t walk more often, it’s often because we think we don’t have the time

Believing that “what counts, counts”, we are always keen to see data measuring how much walking is being done.  So we were pleased to see two new measures of walking appear recently.

The National Walking and Cycling Participation Survey has been undertaken in 2021.  This continues a biennial series for measuring cycling that began in 2013.  This is the first time that it has also covered walking. This is a telephone survey in which a member of a household who is at least 15 years of age is asked to respond for each member of the household.  In South Australia, this involved 529 households, covering 1,324 households.

Practically all of us (96%) walked for more than five minutes in the week before the survey.  And we walked quite a lot: among those aged 15 and over, the median hours walked in the previous seven days was 3.0 hours, or almost a half an hour a day.

This was slightly less than the 3.5 hours recorded for Australia as a whole.  A cynic might say that this is because parking is easier than in the big cities on the east coast, but we should note that the most popular reason for walking recorded was for recreational/ health purposes.  See the figures reproduced below.  (The lines at the top of each column are the error bars, to indicate the 95% confidence interval.)

Reasons given for walking

These figures might be an over-estimate.  Because answering is voluntary (48% of households approached agreed to be surveyed), there is probably a self-selection bias toward households that are pre-disposed toward walking and cycling.  Also, the average household surveyed had 2.5 members, compared with 2.4 recorded in the most recent census.  So there was probably a slight bias toward younger/ more active households.

Nevertheless, the key value of the National Walking and Cycling Participation Survey is that it provides a consistent methodology over time, so we look forward to accurate trends in the years to come.

The other recent source of data is survey of members by the Royal Automobile Association (RAA).  624 members responded to a questionnaire about how much walking they do, their attitudes towards walking and what might encourage them to walk more often.  As with the National survey, almost all respondents (in this case 94%) said that they walked for at least five minutes in the past week.  Over a third said that they did this every day.  Half said that on a typical day they walked for at least 30 minutes.

What was striking was the proportions who said that they could easily walk at least a kilometre to access local shops and similar destination: 85% in the case of parks; two thirds to shops, cafes and restaurants.

Three quarters said that they would like to walk more than they do, but the biggest barrier to doing this was the lack of time.

Once again there is probably a self-selectivity bias here: the survey was voluntary.  Nevertheless, the survey suggests that that, with over half of our car trips 3km or less, there is a lot of scope for replacing short car trips with walking.

Survey on Shared Trail Use

Users sharing a trail

Have you ever walked on a ‘Shared Trail’? The purpose of shared trails is to allow for walkers, runners, hikers, bike riders and horse riders to integrate themselves together, using the same trail for the benefit of all users.

Walking SA is currently developing a Position Statement for Shared Trail Use and would welcome your feedback during this consultation phase.

We would appreciate you completing the brief survey below – it should take no more than 5 minutes to complete.

You can read Walking SA’s other Position Statements.

The Importance of Storytelling

In Nilpena Ediacara National Park, Ross showcased one of the most important Ediacaran fossil sites in the world

In Nilpena Ediacara National Park, Ross showcased one of the most important Ediacaran fossil sites in the world

Recently, as a member of the Parks and Wilderness Council, I was afforded the opportunity to visit the Northern Flinders Ranges to learn more about South Australia’s bid for this iconic cultural, geological and biodiverse landscape to be recognised under UNESCO World Heritage.

Ben visiting Sacred Canyon, one of the the great cultural significance of these landscapes to the Adnyamathanha people

Throughout this trip, Council were given opportunities to visit the recently proclaimed Nilpena Ediacara National Park where Ross showcased one of the most important Ediacaran fossil sites in the world. We also made our way through Brachina Gorge and into Sacred Canyon, where Aunty Pauline explained the great cultural significance of these landscapes to the Adnyamathanha people.

It was these opportunities that reminded me of one of the reasons why I love spending time with people, adventuring through the outdoors – storytelling.

For 60,000 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island People have been doing just that – communally gathering around a campfire to listen to stories from the Dreamtime, or tell of daily happenings, such as what they had learnt, hunted or encountered. Harnessing oral communication, they would speak, sing, dance and/or share in art and craft-making. To me, no group of people have affirmed the value of storytelling like Indigenous people have and continue to do.

Sacred Canyon, one of the the great cultural significance of these landscapes to the Adnyamathanha people

My time in the Flinders Ranges reminded me of how holistically important storytelling is to our lives. As I reflected on the experiences of the stories being shared to me by Aunty Pauline, Ross, or from the many others in our group or the people we met along the adventure, I made the below notes.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful means that we all have to influence, teach, and inspire others.

Stories are what connects us as people between history, experiences, opportunities and ideas. They take even the most beautiful landscapes, adrenalin filling adventures and unique encounters and make them come alive. Stories convey the culture, history, and values that unite people.

When it comes to our communities, our friends and our families, we intuitively understand that it is the stories we hold in common which bind us together.

Stories enable us to learn from others about past experiences and moments in time, connecting the experiences shared between us of the present day and motivating us to create new ones to share with each other in our future.

When Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island People share together, they aren’t just entertainers but they are also preserving their culture while educating future generations in the history, values and lore of their people.

Storytelling connects us as humans, whether on the trail, sitting around at camp or enjoying that drink in the next country town. Stories take the words off signage, the paragraphs off pages, the data off the sheets and engages us in that content. Stories make us better active listeners, as we become immersed in a fun, risk-free, and transformative learning opportunity.

Stories connect generation to generation through cultural practices, beliefs, traditions, values, languages, experiences and relationships.

Storytelling helps with learning because stories are easy to remember – I certainly remember a well-told story more accurately, and for far longer, than listening to or reading facts and figures.

Stories ground us in a moment in time. When outdoors, stories allow us to feel the ground beneath our feet, to see the beauty of nature around us, to smell the freshness of the day, to hear the calls of the bush and to taste the opportunity for new experiences.

Storytelling builds an image in our imagination of that moment in time, which can appeal to a diversity of listeners, it allows us to appreciate what it may have been like at that moment and it expands our interests into new areas.

I was certainly encouraged to share in more storytelling as a result of this trip. To me, that is the difference of the experience in any destination, circumstance or opportunity… when storytelling is engaged, we can convey a style of immersive learning that can influence, teach, and/or inspire others.

Congratulations to our latest BLSA Day Walk Leader graduate – Judy McAdam

Judy McAdam, our latest BLSA Day Walk Leader graduateJudy McAdam has recently graduated as a Day Walk Leader. Judy is a member of the Friends of the Heysen Trail, being actively involved with the Friends as an office volunteer, Membership Secretary, Council member and as Co-ordinator of End-to-End 10 when they crossed the finishing stile on the July 16.

The Day Walk Leader Certificate equips people to lead single day group bushwalking trips.

Thanks to grant support from Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing, Walking SA partnered with Bushwalking Leadership SA to strengthen bushwalking leadership within our clubs.

Having walked in her teens Judy returned to the trail to train to walk the Camino for a significant birthday 11 years ago and hasn’t stopped walking since, and doesn’t plan to do so anytime soon.

She found the opportunity to undertake the Bushwalking Leadership Day Walk Leader Certificate was too good to miss.

“I found the course excellent and even though I had a reasonable base knowledge I learned a great deal and dug up some lost knowledge and skills out of the archives of my brain, ” says Judy.

“I must admit while reading through the notes prior to first day I had a chuckle that these were the same things I was taught as a girl guide, oh so many years ago but I quickly came to realise that what was good bushcraft then remains good bushcraft today, and even though there were advances in technology and equipment the fundamentals remain the same.”

“I particularly enjoyed the navigation component and I applied the route planning lessons to the current Heysen trail route and maps and found it beneficial in really appreciating the terrain the group we were leading was facing in final 200k of the trail.”

She strongly recommends the course to all walking clubs and walk leaders.

 

The next Bushwalking Leadership SA Day Walk Leader Certificate course is in September. The Training Day is Saturday 4th September 2021, with the Workshop on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September 2021. Book via www.bushwalkingleadership.org.au.

You can find out more about upcoming training dates by contacting us or visiting bushwalkingleadership.org.au.

Super Tuesday 2021 Pedestrian Counts

On the assumption that “what is counted, counts”, Walking SA has been looking for ways to measure the amount of walking done, both on hiking trails and in our urban areas.

Every year Bike Adelaide manages the Super Tuesday counts.  Volunteers count cyclists as they ride past particular points from 7am to 9am on the first Tuesday in March.  We’ve been working with Bike Adelaide, both asking our membership for volunteers to count pedestrians, and asking Bike Adelaide volunteers who count cyclists if they could also count pedestrians, at least where they are not too busy.

In 2020 we had 14 locations counted, and this year 35.  Importantly, ten of the 35 were counted in both years, so we are starting to be able to measure trends.  All but one of the 10 locations saw an increase compared with 2021.  The total increase at the 10 locations was 17%.

Here are the figures for locations counted in both years:

Location Pedestrians counted
2020 2021 change
Port Road/ Gaol Road 110 124 13%
Dequetteville Tce/ King William 102 113 11%
Osmond Tce/ William St 100 143 43%
Fullarton Rd/ William St 94 116 23%
Britannia roundabout 45 46 2%
Frome St/ Wakefield St 333 372 12%
West Tce/ Sir Donald Bradman Dr 202 206 2%
West Tce/ Sturt St 98 67 -32%
East Tce/ South Tce/ Beaumont Rd 232 243 5%
Westside Bikeway/ South Road 18 21 17%
TOTAL 1334 1451 17%

The overall increase is interesting given that the counts tend to be in an around the City, and overall numbers heading into the City are probably lower than they were in early March 2020.  One explanation for this might be the increase in walking for exercise that was encouraged by the Covid lockdown.  Also there may well be people walking who previously caught the bus.

But it should also be noted that, with one or two exceptions, pedestrians were not counted in the CBD itself – there are just too many of pedestrians to be counted and in any case counts at these locations the count would probably measure the popularity of the CBD rather than the popularity of walking.

Whatever, it’s good to see more walking in our inner suburbs.

Advice for Bushwalkers to consider Biosecurity

Recently we sought advice from the state government Primary Industries & Regions SA (PIRSA) in regards to issues bushwalkers should consider in relation to biosecurity.

Read the advice from Biosecurity SA – Invasive Species Unit, Primary Industries & Regions SA (PIRSA) in full below.

A major issue for the protection of native vegetation and primary production is the transport of seeds of weedy plants on clothing including footwear, and even coats or backpacks.

Walkers are advised to check their trousers, shoes and socks after walking through a weedy area, then take a moment to get all weed seeds out of their clothes. Staying on established walking trails can make it easier to avoid picking up this plant debris.

Walkers should also consider the potential for their vehicles to carry weeds on roadsides and car parks adjoining the walking trail.

The SA Weed Control App may be useful to walkers.

View as response letter (PDF).

 

Thank you for your enquiry, and for Walking SA’s interest in supporting the education of bushwalkers about biosecurity.

A major issue for the protection of native vegetation and primary production is the transport of seeds of weedy plants on clothing including footwear, and even coats or backpacks. All these items should be checked for any burrs, grass seeds etc. When camping out, it is also advisable to check swags and tents for seeds that get attached.

High risk declared weeds that may be transported in this way include caltrop, Noogoora burr and khaki weed; and, in the arid zone, buffel grass.

Walkers are advised to check their trousers, shoes and socks after walking through a weedy area, then take a moment to get all weed seeds out of their clothes. Staying on established walking trails can make it easier to avoid picking up this plant debris.

Walkers should also consider the potential for their vehicles to carry weeds on roadsides and car parks adjoining the walking trail.

Risk of vehicles spreading pests and diseases can be lessened by washing down using a hose, high pressure cleaner or spray tank and pump. Be sure to clean all potential seed collection points, and move the vehicle forward to ensure tyres are clean all around the tread. Sweep or vacuum inside the cab to remove seeds and plant debris.

Where no wash-down facilities are available be sure to physically remove all clods of mud and visible plant material in addition to cleaning the foot-well and cabin of the vehicle. Use a brush or scraping implement to remove contaminants such as burrs and clods of mud from tyres, mud guards, ledges and crevices where they could lodge.

Removed seeds should be bagged and taken to where they can be disposed of safely, for example by putting the bags in the ‘red’ garbage bin.

Soil pathogens such as phytophthora may also be carried in soil on footwear, particularly in the winter-spring wet months. Walkers should observe any signs marking known phytophthora infestations. The presence of shrubs that have died with all their dry brown foliage in place, especially yakkas and banksia, may indicate the presence of phytophthora.

Further to the above, the Invasive Species Council has produced a useful brochure on minimizing biosecurity risks when visiting natural areas: https://invasives.org.au/how-to-help/keep-gear-clean-wild/

Kangaroo Island is in the fortunate position of being free from many weeds and pests that are established on the mainland, and visitors have a responsibility to protect the island’s biosecurity. In particular, honey and unwashed potatoes must not be taken to Kangaroo Island. More information can be found at the Biosecurity SA website.

The SA Weed Control App may be useful to walkers. It illustrates all the plants declared in SA under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019, and enables a user to report infestations to regional weeds officers with GPS co-ordinates and a photo. The app can be downloaded from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions website at https://pir.sa.gov.au/biosecurity/weeds_and_pest_animals/weeds_in_sa/weed_contr ol_app

Volunteer groups who are installing trails should obtain advice from regional Landscape board staff and land managers regarding biosecurity signage, as part of the approval process for the on-ground works.

Thanks again for your interest in biosecurity issues.

Yours sincerely,
Dr John Virtue
General Manager Strategy, Policy & Invasive Species

Congratulations to our latest BLSA Day Walk Leader graduate – Roxanne Crook

Roxanne Crook has recently graduated as a Day Walk LeaderRoxanne Crook has recently graduated as a Day Walk Leader. Roxanne is a member of Adelaide Bushwalkers and the Friends of the Heysen Trail, and well regarded in the SA bushwalking community.

The Day Walk Leader Certificate equips people to lead single day group bushwalking trips.

Thanks to grant support from Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing, Walking SA partnered with Bushwalking Leadership SA to strengthen bushwalking leadership within our clubs.

The next Bushwalking Leadership SA Day Walk Leader Certificate course is in September. The Training Day is Saturday 4th September 2021, with the Workshop on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September 2021. Book via www.bushwalkingleadership.org.au.

You can find out more about upcoming training dates by contacting us or visiting bushwalkingleadership.org.au.

Our Response to Green Adelaide Draft Regional Landscape Plan 2021-26

Heart Foundation and Walking SA teamed up to write to the Government of South Australia to reaffirm that green streets, parks and urban environments have an important role to play in getting people walking.

Trees in the street are critical in creating an environment that people want to walk in. The benefits for walkers are both aesthetic and practical, with street trees providing shelter from the sun and, to some extent, rain.

FACT – Trees are under threat in our city – greater Adelaide is losing a phenomenal number of trees.

We call on the government to to keep mature trees in new developments and establish guidelines for suitable trees to ensure canopy for our streets.

Our Response

View our response (PDF)

Heart Foundation and Walking SA logos

17 April 2021

Heart Foundation and Walking SA response to Green Adelaide Draft Regional Landscape Plan 2021-26

The Heart Foundation and Walking SA welcome the opportunity to respond to Green Adelaide.

We commend the government’s commitment to a cooler, greener, wilder and climate-resilient city, particularly as this will have significant impacts on how we live, whether we walk, and our health and wellbeing.

This submission will focus on key focus areas G1, G2 and G3 under Green streets and flourishing parklands: increase the extent and quality of urban green cover.

Lack of physical activity is a leading risk factor for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and for poor mental health.1 Only 15% of adults meet all the Australian Physical Activity Guidelines (ABS 2018). Walking is a simple, accessible and equitable physical activity way of reducing key risk factors.

If more people walk for recreation, sport, transport and health for 30 minutes each day, evidence supports there will be a reduction of 35% in cardiovascular disease.2 Unfortunately, more than 85% of Australian adults are not achieving this level of exercise according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.3

We believe that green streets and flourishing parks and urban environments have an important role to play in getting people walking.

Green streetscapes and public spaces

The “green-ness” of our streets and public spaces determines the liveability of our city, suburbs and regions and is ultimately a key determining factor as to whether people will choose to live here in the future.

Cities around the world now regard trees and other vegetation as critical urban infrastructure – as important to how a city functions as the “hard infrastructure” such as roads, and particularly vital to the health and wellbeing of communities.

Our streets are particularly important because they make up a substantial part of the open space available to communities, and can be better utilised as places to play, relax, socialise, grow food, be active, sit and create.

We accept that population growth concentrated in Adelaide and our urban areas is inevitable, and that increasing residential density should be part of the overall plan for South Australian population growth.

As we move towards increases in medium density housing, the success lies in convincing the community of the necessity of smaller private spaces and the challenge is to expand and improve public open spaces nearer to where we live.4 The intensification of development in Greater Adelaide’s urban areas requires that built environment professionals and developers consider the role of streetscapes as not solely the domain of motor vehicles but also for pedestrians and cyclists.

Conventional streets favour and prioritise the movement of vehicles, with the quantity and quality of space for people on foot often only considered as an afterthought.5 Instead, to support walking, the role of the street must be re-considered as a place to be somewhere, not just get somewhere. Our streets are becoming increasingly important as public spaces for social and commercial interaction.

For streets to work as effective public spaces, they need to be ‘lively’ and to foster social interactions. Great streets for people should be pleasant places to walk, should protect us from the weather and should respond to climate change.

It is not enough to accelerate greening of our streetscapes and public spaces. We must have mature trees with canopy that provides shade.

Mature streets trees can encourage walking and promote wellbeing in several ways:6

  • By providing facilitative settings encouraging people to walk for both exercise and transport;
  • By facilitating social interaction and a sense of community;
  • Trees can aid the healing process for those recovering from stress related illnesses;
  • Trees planted along a kerb, especially if closely spaced; define a pedestrian zone separated from vehicular traffic, creating a sense of safety both physically and The perception of safety is an important component of walkability, and trees create a protective barrier which reduces the risk of being hit by a ‘run-off-the-road’ vehicle. –
  • By mitigating the adverse effects created by urban heat islands – ensuring people are still able to walk on hotter days under a canopy of connected trees providing shade, in relative
  • Trees (low-allergen) absorb considerable quantities of airborne pollutants and the resulting cleaner air cuts childhood asthma levels.

The Heart Foundation’s Healthy Active by Design guidelines aim to assist planners, urban designers and related professionals to design healthy urban environments that enable people to make healthy lifestyle choices and in particular incorporate walking and cycling into their daily routine. The guide suggest that planners use tree planting and landscaping to contribute to the functionality of streets and open spaces, improve the microclimate and create attractive and legible routes and spaces that encourage active use.7

Trees and landscaping in the street are critical in creating an environment that people want to walk in, especially for recreation. The benefits for walkers are both aesthetic and practical, with street trees providing shelter from the sun and, to some extent, rain.8 An Australian study found the presence of trees providing shade in open spaces was positively associated with an increased likelihood of being active.9

The big tree argument

Large, mature trees are considered to deliver more significant benefits than smaller stature trees.

Therefore large tree species should be planted, and trees should be allowed to grow to maturity to maximize their benefits. For example, large trees provide greater benefits of improved shade, water quality and air quality than smaller trees.10 Large trees out-perform small trees in moderating air temperatures, blocking UV radiation, conserving energy, sequestering carbon and reducing air pollution, in a manner directly related to the size of the tree canopy.11 A study by McPherson12 estimated that a large tree with a height of 14 metres provides three times the annual environmental benefits of a similarly aged 7 metre high tree, and that the value of benefits increases faster than the costs of managing a larger tree.

Larger trees also have greater visual presence, and are often more highly valued by residents, especially where ‘canopy closure’ over the street is achieved.131415 In one study the single largest factor in determining the attractiveness of a street scene was the size of the trees and their canopies. This was supported by a study in which there was a preference for large canopied trees in a tree replacement program.16 A canopy of mature trees arching over the street and shading properties has defined the character of many urban and suburban communities. In fact it is the enduring nature of large trees in a rapidly changing urban environment that contributes to their high symbolic value and a sense of permanence in our fast changing society.17

We strongly advocate for the value of trees in our communities for health, social economic and environmental reasons.

The benefits of trees in our urban environment are well known and documented.

Adequate space in our streets for trees is critical to ensure that the inherent benefits for our communities are achieved.

The 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide sets a target that urban canopy cover is increased by 20% in metropolitan Adelaide by 2045. This is a target we strongly support.

We draw your attention to the value of trees and refer you to the section “The Value of Trees” on Page 16 of Creating Greener Places for Healthy and Sustainable Communities: Ideas for Quality Green Public Space in South Australia (PDF 7MB).

However, as development intensity continues to place pressure on existing suburbs, private development on private land must accommodate space above and below the ground to ensure a range of tree sizes can be planted, grow, thrive and mature to achieve the State’s target.

Guidance on suitable trees, appropriate root zones, sizes of new trees (height and girth) as well as establishment periods and regimes is also a contributing factor to the establishment of healthy, large and beneficial trees in our streets.

Existing Trees

Trees are under threat in our city – greater Adelaide is losing a phenomenal number of trees – about 1-6% since 2013.18 If this continues, there is no hope of reaching Adelaide’s goal of becoming ‘a green liveable city’;

Urban infill is necessary, we appreciate that our population is growing and the demand for residential properties will mean smaller housing allotment with less space for trees and permeable surfaces to capture rainfall to sustain green cover.

Trees can be challenging to live with, trees need maintenance and can involve risk to a household, but the benefits to the householder and the wider community are worth it.

Retaining trees on a block can be a real challenge when development takes place – some consider it costly to retain trees, yet ‘smart infill’ and careful design to maximise the retention of existing trees and gain the benefits offered by mature trees rather than the small shrubs or immature trees often favoured in new developments is possible.

Our recommended practical solutions aim to balance the current tensions between our planning system and the community’s need for a green liveable city; including:

  • Support for retaining tree canopy on private land that accounts for 80% of metropolitan Adelaide (not just new tree planting on public land).
  • Clearer rules and simpler and quicker processes in Councils and Government for homeowners and developers, and;
  • Help for the tree owners who, as custodians, currently bear all the cost and risk while nearby properties share in the aesthetic and coolness benefits.

We also believe advocacy on the value of trees in contributing to green corridors, connected canopies, cooling benefits and cost benefits within the private homes will change community expectations in achieving the State’s canopy targets.

To assist in developing easy to access and understand information, high quality and accurate mapping of tree canopies, like flood mapping, needs to be made accessible to all. Similarly, mapping of all significant and regulated trees should be considered as a critical overlay in the Code, noting that trees mature and change over time.

The impact of new infill housing development on green streetscapes

Adelaide’s urban infill development is depleting urban street tree canopy and both public and private green space.

Public green spaces are a core facet of urban infill development being attractive, liveable and sustainable. When liveability and attractiveness are considered, urban infill development can deliver many positive health, environment and economic outcomes.

More and more however, we are seeing examples of suburban densification in Adelaide where private owners knock down one house and replace it with two or more smaller houses1. Often this type of development occurs with minimal consideration of integration between the new dwellings and broader street and neighbourhood context. Done on an ad- hoc basis (compared with other larger site development), this style of development has the potential to negatively impact the place-making functions of the street and neighbourhood.

Specifically, poor quality infill may affect:

  • The footpath quality and connectivity
  • The street trees, landscaping and shading
  • The aesthetics of the streetscape
  • The microclimate and heat island effect
  • The safety of pedestrians
  • Accessibility to transport and other local

The legislation must change to give protection to trees. This is imperative for Adelaide to retain its quality urban form, safeguard liveability in the face of a hotter and drier climate, and ensure that the city is a place that is inviting, and supportive of a thriving economic. This matter is too integral to strategic planning outcomes to be left to chance alone.

There must be incentives to keep mature trees in new development through the new planning system.

We must establish urban tree conservation areas such as the Adelaide Parklands and significant tree-lined streets, which protect mature trees from being felled.

Deep soil zones are required to retain existing vegetation on an existing or redeveloped site as well as areas to accommodate new deep root vegetation. Deep soil zones allow for a range of tree species to provide shade, improve evapotranspiration, cooling, increase private canopy cover and soften the appearance of buildings. Our concern is that the design of spaces to allow deep soil zones needs to be considered on a site-by-site basis.

For example, a deep soil zone that is too narrow and along the boundary will not accommodate any trees, so that the quantitative measures might be achieved; however, the qualitative benefits of the tree canopy are never achieved. Therefore, the design of sites is critical.

Therefore, we advocate that deep soil zones need to be considered contextually on a site- specific basis, and to educate on the importance of suitable and adequate planting areas as a fit-for-purpose exercise as part of good practice and is reinforced by various legislative requirements and regulation.

There is also an opportunity for innovation in slab design, house position and orientation, the inclusion of wrap-around courtyards and root trenches that improve the deep root zone of trees. There are also a range of hard surfaces that are designed to be permeable to allow for water penetration to the soil zone (e.g., for driveways). Baseline provisions will not achieve the targets that the 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide sets out.

New and denser developments must include tree planting that will provide a legacy, that are fit for purpose, and address species diversity to ensure the best environmental outcomes.

New developments need to reinforce, reference and mandate the important role that front yards have in connecting green space with streetscapes.

We believe that more than 7% of a site’s area is required for deep soil zones for medium to high rise development and should be included to lead change and support State’s targets.

Recommendations

We recommend the following:

  • Guidelines be developed to include details of minimum tree size and quality at time of installation
  • All landscaping is established prior to occupancy
  • The Botanic Gardens of SA Plant selector and local Council lists used to develop suitable plant species by zone, postcode, or a similar guide
  • Greater focus on larger tree species rather than defaulting to small trees
  • The City of Adelaide recognise and utilise the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy in developing and focussing on the importance of urban
  • That this strategy explicitly describes its importance, relevance and relationship within a framework of other strategies across South Australian government portfolios, including state biodiversity, climate change, water, strategic planning, recreation and open space, education, walking and health and wellbeing strategies.

Thank you for this opportunity and we wish you great success.

As you will know the Heart Foundation has been commissioned by Wellbeing SA to lead the development of a state-wide Walking Strategy. We consider Green Adelaide’s Landscape Plan as one of the key policies that will support the Walking Strategy and we look forward to continuing our conversation with you during the development process.

If you would like any further information, evidence or clarification on this submission please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely
Imelda Lynch
Chief Executive Officer SA/NT, Heart Foundation

Helen Donovan
Executive Director, Walking SA

Contact: Tuesday Udell, Senior Policy Advisor, Tuesday.udell@heartfoundation.org.au

About the Heart Foundation

For over sixty years the Heart Foundation has been fighting for Australian Hearts.

We have a vision of an Australia free of heart disease and our mission is to prevent heart disease and improve the heart health and quality of life of all Australians through our work in risk reduction, support and care, and research.

As part of our work we are committed to seeing more Australians more active, more often.

The Heart Foundation is the leading Australian organisation advocating for environments that promote and support physical activity and work in partnership with a range of industry, government, non-government and academic organisations to create environments that support healthier living through better planning, built environments and transport solutions.

About Walking SA

Our vision is to see more people walking more often.

Walking SA is the not-for-profit peak body that leads, promotes and supports all forms of walking in South Australia, including walking for recreation, transport, health, wellbeing, organised events, adventure, environmental appreciation and fun experiences. Our vision is to see more people walking more often. Our members include walking clubs, informal groups, individuals and organisations whose aims, and objectives align with those of Walking SA.

References

1 Also known as knock down rebuild = teardown rebuild = two for one = three for one = housing intensification.

1 World Health Organisation. Global Action Plan on Physical Activity, WHO, Geneva, 2018. 2 UK Chief Medical Officer. 2019. UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines. United Kingdom Government: United Kingdom

3 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, National Health Survey: First results, 2017-18, cat. no. 4364.0.55.001, December. ABS: Canberra.

4 Udell T, et al. Does density matter? The role of density in creating walkable neighbourhoods. Melbourne: National Heart Foundation of Australia. 2014.

5 Government of South Australia, National Heart Foundation of Australia. Streets for People. A Compendium for South Australian Practice. Adelaide 2012.

6 Heart Foundation SA: Position snapshot: Making the case for investment in street trees and landscaping in urban environments. 2012.

7 National Heart Foundation of Australia. Healthy Active By Design https://www.healthyactivebydesign.com.au/

8 Vic Walks http://www.victoriawalks.org.au/trees/

9 Timperio, A., et al. Features of public open spaces and physical activity among children: Findings from the CLAN study. Preventive Medicine, 2008; 47(5), 514–518.

10 McPherson, J. R., et al. (2005). Municipal Forest Benefits and Costs in Five US Cities. Journal of Forestry(December).

11 Nowak, D. J. (2004). Assessing environmental functions and values of veteran trees. Proceedings of the International Conference on the Protection and Exploitation of Veteran Trees, Torino, Italy.

12 McPherson, E. G. (2005). “Trees with benefits.” American Nurseryman 201(7).

13 Kalmbach, K. L. and J. J. Kielbaso. Resident attitudes toward selected characteristics of street tree planting. Journal of Arboriculture. 1979; 5(6): 124-129.

14 Schroeder, H. W. and W. N. Cannon. The aesthetic contribution of trees to residential streets in Ohio towns. Journal of Arboriculture. 1983; 9: 237-243.

15 Sommer, R., et al. Household evaluation of two street tree species. Journal of Arboriculture. 1989; 15: 99-103.

16 Heimlich, J., et al. Attitudes of residents toward street trees on four streets in Toledo, Ohio, U.S. before removal of Ash trees from Emerald Ash borer.” Journal of Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 34(1): 47-53.

17 Dwyer, J. F., et al. (2003). “Sustaining urban forests. Journal of Arboriculture. 2008; 29(1): 49-55.

18 Conservation Council SA. What’s happening to Adelaide’s trees? June 2020

Helen Jensen completes the BLSA Day Walk Leader Certificate

We’ve been offering training to members of our hiking clubs to complete Bushwalking Leadership SA’s Day Walk Leader Certificate. We’ve been able to provide this with grant support from the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing.

Heather JensenLast month one of our first group of students, Heather Jensen, graduated. Heather is a member of Adelaide Bushwalkers and the Friends of the Heysen Trail.

The Day Walk Leader Certificate equips people to lead single day bushwalking trips.

Heather found the planning elements tedious, but has been surprised to learn it to be the most critical aspect of preparing for the hike. It has allowed her to be prepared and confident when leading a hike – and indeed enjoy the experience – knowing when to proceed or pull the pin, and understand the potential hazards and how mitigate those with contingency plans.

Through the course Heather has realised that she has been overly reliant on easy and accessible smartphone and devices to work out where she is in the bush. The course has equipped her with the knowledge to navigate via the “old school compass and map” method. Having seen that sometimes technology can fail or fall short, her approach now is a mix of both methods. Technology can interfere with the walk and enjoyment of it and is not necessary to get out there.

“I found when I only had the paper map to follow, I took a lot more notice of my surroundings and although this takes longer to stop and check where I am on the map, it is much more satisfying.”

On her practical trip when she led a small group on a hike she had planned, one of the hikers had a fall.

“The course taught me how to handle a variety of emergency situations, and with my First Aid skills, gave me the confidence to be calm with the injured hiker and the rest of the group, so as to best help the person and group.”

The course is delivered over multiple sessions with a five-hour practical, which as a bonus gives students time to take in what they are learning, explore the issues more and raise questions.

“I believe the course provides a good grounding in how to be a good day hike bushwalking leader and all groups should be sending their leaders on the course to ensure the safety of those in their care.  Experience and practice will help me to continue to understand and maintain what I have learned.”

You can find out more about upcoming training dates by contacting us.

Advocating for improved walking and mobility conditions in Mannum

We recently sent a letter to Mid Murray Council about works on an access ramp and footpath that has resulted in a steep incline which is not suitable for those with mobility impairments. We applaud the works to improve walking and mobility within the towns and settlements in the council’s area but draw attention to an example of a ramp that does not meet Australian Standards (AS1428 Design for access and mobility.)

View letter (PDF)

Letter from Walking SA

23 March 2021
Mid Murray Council
CEO Ben Scales

Dear Mr Scales

We are aware Council has been investing in installing new footpaths and access ramps in selected locations across the Mid Murray Council and we applaud the works to improve walking and mobility within the towns and settlements in the council’s area.

We are contacting you about an access matter that has been brought to our attention in Mannum.

It appears that some recent new works involving the installation of an access ramp and footpath has resulted in a steep incline which is not suitable for those with mobility impairments. We understand this is located within the town centre of Mannum on Neil Street.

We would like to draw your attention to Australian Standards (AS1428 and parts) regarding the provision of universal access to such devices, which includes the connection to new or improved footpaths from the adjacent street.

This requires a maximum grade of no more than 2.5% in any direction, together with the approach footpaths where feasible.

This issue may have been alleviated with some simple and minor earthworks to better align the grades of the new bitumen footpath and the access ramp, as well as connecting the ramp to the adjacent and new path in accordance with the standards.

We would also seek assurance that new works or asset replacements works are specified according to the relevant universal access standards (in this case, Australian Standard AS1428 and parts), and where appropriate, funded adequately.

Improving walking conditions to an agreed universal access standard for all abilities is an important and critical service councils provide. We appreciate at times errors or mistakes occur.
We would request council reconsider this matter and rectify the situation to ensure the safety and access for all residents, visitors, and workers in Mannum.

Walking SA is the peak body for walking in South Australia, and a strong advocate for creating more walkable places. We support efforts to encourage more walking for transport, recreation and health in our cities, towns, and settlements for people of all ages and abilities.

We would be pleased to discuss this matter further if required and we also would appreciate your response to this matter.

Regards
Helen Donovan
Executive Director

Children have the right to walk and ride safely to school

Download media release (PDF)

Logos - Bike Adelaide, Walking SA and Heart Foundation

Leading advocacy agencies Walking SA, Bike Adelaide and Heart Foundation, are urging all levels of government to radically rethink school precincts to prioritise children’s physical and mental health and safety by providing safe, enjoyable walking and cycling routes to school. The agencies call for:

  • A consistent decrease in speed to a maximum speed limit of 40km/h in local streets and school precincts, with lower speed limits in all dedicated school zones and streets where pedestrians and cars are forced to share space (including streets with narrow footpaths, carparks, and laneways)
  • An immediate increase in funding to local governments to install a network of planned separated bikeways, safe road crossings, and other supporting infrastructure to create safe travel routes to schools
  • To move school drop-off zones away from the front gate to decrease the high traffic volumes immediately in front of schools and thereby decrease the risk of collision with a child

“Let’s start with a simple, systemic change that will dramatically increase children’s safety – drop the default urban speed limit to a maximum of 40km/h” said Dr Helen Donovan, Executive Director of Walking SA. “The relationship between speed and road traffic accidents is well established. Speed is one of the major factors contributing to accidents on South Australia’s roads. Evidence shows a decrease in the default maximum speed from 50km/h to 40km/h would reduce the risk of death on collision from over 80% to 26% 1. If you could save the life of one child by adding a few seconds on to your daily commute, would you choose to do it?

“Over the past 40 years, children walking and cycling to school has declined from 75 percent to 25 percent,” Dr Donovan said. “As physical activity levels decrease, not only do children experience a myriad of problems associated with loss of physical health, but we have also seen levels of anxiety and depression in young people skyrocket. Are we going to accept this as a community?”

In South Australia on average 52 percent of school children live within two kilometres of their school, but only 20 percent actively travel to or from school 2. Bike Adelaide Chair, Katie Gilfillan, is encouraging local governments and the state government to re-orient transport and infrastructure spending toward a network of safe, enjoyable walking and cycling routes. “Walking and cycling to school isn’t just a matter of individual motivation. We need to steadily improve the built environment to ensure it is safe and enjoyable to walk and ride. Children and families must have a viable, safe choice.”

Heart Foundation CEO SA/NT Imelda Lynch welcomes the recent South Australian government announcement that a state walking strategy will be developed in 2021. The strategy will aim to get more people walking more often including safe routes for children to walk to school which improves levels of physical activity and wellbeing.

Media enquiries

Helen Donovan, Executive Director Walking SA
helen.donovan@walkingsa.org.au Ph: 0457006620

About Walking SA

Walking SA is the not-for-profit peak body that leads, promotes and supports all forms of walking in South Australia, including walking for recreation, transport, health, wellbeing, organised events, adventure, environmental appreciation and fun experiences.

Our vision is to see more people walking more often.

Our members include walking clubs, informal groups, individuals and organisations whose aims, and objectives align with those of Walking SA. We provide leadership by:

  • Promoting opportunities to improve the health and lifestyle of South Australians through
  • Offering expertise, guidance and advocacy for the development and maintenance of safe and supportive walking environments throughout South

To find out about Walking SA, including our database describing over 700 trails in South Australia, visit www.walkingsa.org.au

About Bike Adelaide (Formerly the Bicycle Institute of South Australia)

Bike Adelaide advocates for the development of bike friendly communities that encourage people to use the bicycle as a healthy, efficient, and environmentally friendly transport choice. Our advocacy efforts focus on supporting everyday cycling, particularly the creation of a low-stress cycling network safe for anyone aged 8 – 80 years to enjoy.

Specifically, Bike Adelaide advocates for investment in new and improved cycling infrastructure and supporting policies and practices to improve cycling safety, connectivity, and comfort across the Greater Adelaide area.

Our vision: Sustainable transport is at the heart of Adelaide’s success as a people friendly and environmentally responsible city. Adelaide thrives on the fun and freedom that comes from cycling.

As a non-for-profit organisation powered by volunteers Bike Adelaide represents its members and all people including children who currently, or would like to bike, as a part of their everyday lives. For more on Bike Adelaide and our activities visit bikeadelaide.org.au.

About the Heart Foundation

The Heart Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to fighting the single biggest killer of Australians – heart disease. For 60 years, it has led the battle to save lives and improve the heart health of all Australians. Its sights are set on a world where people don’t suffer or die prematurely because of heart disease.

For heart health information and support, call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 13 11 12. To find out about more about the Heart Foundation’s work supporting active living visit heartfoundation.org.au/Heart-health-education/Physical-activity-Built-Environment

  1. Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre’s fact sheet Improving Pedestrian Safety (2010)
  2. GIS Residential data from 26,910 primary school students (2015-2018) and Way2Go school survey data from 11,944 year 3-7 students (2015-2018)

Heart Foundation and Wellbeing SA to develop a Walking Strategy

Parent and children walking to schoolWalking SA has strongly supported the collective call for a state-wide Walking Strategy which supports both walking for transport and walking for recreation.

We are pleased to see that Wellbeing SA is funding the development of a Walking Strategy and that Heart Foundation will be leading the project in 2021.

This is a unique and exciting opportunity that Walking SA will contribute to as a key stakeholder.

Heart Foundation have advertised for the project manager position.

Draft Pastoral Lands Bill up for review – access for bushwalking

Government review of Pastoral Act may impact access for recreational bushwalkers in the Flinders Ranges

Twelve months ago the State Government commenced consultation around revising the Pastoral Act. We encouraged people to submit input to preserve access to these remote locations for bushwalking.

Much of the land in the Flinders Ranges north of Hawker is not private freehold land but instead is leased from the State Government to pastoralists to undertake grazing ventures, whilst recognising the rights of Aboriginal people. As the land is leased, people can undertake recreational off-trail bushwalking in these remote locations. They must notify the lessee of their intentions to walk, and the lessee can only deny access in certain scenarios.

The Draft Pastoral Lands Bill 2020 is now up for public review. We’ve read through the bill, and are pleased to see that the rights to access pastoral lands to undertake bushwalking activities has been retained, and indeed improved. Of course with this right comes some responsibility, and the bill clearly states the offences and rights of different parties.

Have your say at yoursay.sa.gov.au/decisions/draft-pastoral-lands-bill.

The public consultation period closes 5pm Sunday 18 October 2020.

Turn the school run into a walk

Download media release (PDF)

Heart Foundation and Walking SA logos

This Walk to School Safely Day (Friday September 11), the Heart Foundation and Walking SA are urging children and parents to change their habits and get more active as they travel to and from school.

Heart Foundation CEO SA Imelda Lynch is encouraging families to put their health first by seeking out more active ways to do the school run and leave the car at home.

The National Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that children get at least an hour of physical activity a day, but only one in five Australian children are currently meeting the guidelines.

“This is a concern because physical activity is good for children’s physical health, it reduces the likelihood of childhood obesity, and it is also important when it comes to their mental health, academic performance and concentration in school,” Ms Lynch said.

“Walking, cycling or even scooting to and from school are some of the easiest ways to increase children’s activity levels,” Ms Lynch said.

National data show that over the past 40 years, children walking and cycling to school has declined from 75 percent to 25 percent.

In South Australia on average 52 percent of school children live within two km of their school, but only 20 percent actively travel to or from school. 1

“This figure is worrying but could be improved if the school run was used as a way to incorporate include more activity into the daily routine,” Ms Lynch said.

Parents and caregivers will also benefit if they join their kids walking to school.

“Physical activity can help reduce the risk of heart disease in adults, which is the single leading cause of death in Australia, claiming 48 lives every day,” Ms Lynch said.

Walking SA Executive Director, Helen Donovan, said children who walk to school are happier, healthier, less stressed, and more attentive during the school day. Walking to school also offers the opportunity for strengthening social bonds with family and peers through the incidental chats that naturally occur. These healthy behaviours, when established in childhood, are more likely to be sustained into adulthood.

“Parents want the best for their kids. One of the ways to develop healthy, happy, confident kids is to build a walk into every day,” Dr Donovan said.

“Governments can help by shaping the urban environment for safe, enjoyable walking on connected networks. This requires more investment in pedestrian and cycle paths, safe crossings, and lower speeds on local roads,” she said.

The Heart Foundation is calling for the government to develop and fund a State-wide Walking Strategy. The strategy will aim to get more people walking more frequently including a focus on ensuring safe routes for children to walk to school.

Media enquiries

Emily Goddard, Media Advisor
M: 0432 417 518 E: emily.goddard@heartfoundation.org.au

About the Heart Foundation

The Heart Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to fighting the single biggest killer of Australians – heart disease. For 60 years, it has led the battle to save lives and improve the heart health of all Australians. Its sights are set on a world where people don’t suffer or die prematurely because of heart disease.

Find out your risk of heart attack or stroke by using our Heart Age Calculator. For heart health information and support, call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 13 11 12. To find out about the Heart Foundation’s research program or to make a donation, visit www.heartfoundation.org.au

About Walking SA

Walking SA is the not-for-profit peak body that leads, promotes and supports all forms of walking in South Australia, including walking for recreation, transport, health, wellbeing, organised events, adventure, environmental appreciation and fun experiences.

  • Our vision is to see more people walking more

Our members include walking clubs, informal groups, individuals and organisations whose aims and objectives align with those of Walking SA.

We provide leadership by:

  • Promoting opportunities to improve the health and lifestyle of South Australians through walking.
  • Offering expertise, guidance and advocacy for the development and maintenance of safe and supportive walking environments throughout South

To find out about Walking SA, including our database describing over 700 trails in South Australia, visit www.walkingsa.org.au

 

 

  1. GIS Residential data from 26,910 primary school students (2015-2018) and Way2Go school survey data from 11,944 year 3-7 students (2015-2018)