Covid-19 restrictions easing from 19 June: Walking Groups may increase numbers from 20 to 75

From this Friday, 19 June 2020, each walking group can increase from 20 to 75. Physical distancing of one person per 4sqm must still be maintained. The total number of people who can gather in one location has increased from 80 to 300 (up to 4 groups of 75). Each group of up to 75 should remain separate.

It is anticipated that the next stage of easing will occur on Monday 29 June. From this date, it is expected that group number limits will be removed, however, the limit of one person per 4sqm will remain in place.

Hygiene and cleaning practices should remain in place, and clubs should continue to maintain a process for tracking participants (in the event of an infection outbreak, this will be important to minimise the spread).

Please note the above restrictions are not recommendations by Walking SA, these are legally enforceable restrictions that we are passing on from the Premier, through the Office of Recreation, Sport and Racing (ORSR).

Related previous advice:

  1. Effective June 1: Walking Club Activities, transition to Step 2 of the SA Roadmap for Easing COVID-19 Restrictions
  2. Effective May 11: Plan for resumption of walking club activities – Level B

The Office of Recreation, Sport and Racing official advice effective 19 June 2020 is:

The key points that relate to sport and recreation are as follows:

Introduction of Stage 2.5 – from Friday 19 June

  • This will be an interim step before we move to Stage 3 of the roadmap
  • The number of people allowable in a room (or a group outside) within a venue will increase from 20 to 75 providing 1 person per 4 square metres can be accommodated. This will apply to training or competition groups.
  • The total number of people allowed in a venue will increase from 80 to 300 providing 1 person per 4 square metres can be accommodated. Again this will apply to all people, indoor and outdoor who are gathered at a club.

Stage 3 will commence earlier than expected on Monday 29 June

  • There will be no room or venue limit. This will be replaced with only a density requirement of 1 person per 4 square metres

From Monday 20 July

  • Border restrictions will be lifted
  • There will be no requirement on entry to SA to self-isolate for 14 days

While gyms for individual workouts can increase numbers in line with the above roadmap, increasing the cap of 10 participants in dance and fitness classes is still being considered.

We are still waiting on guidance regarding indoor contact sport.

As always organisations must submit their COVID Safe Plan before commencing activity and should ensure that cleaning and hygiene regimes are enforced.

Walking Club Activities, transition to Step 2 of the SA Roadmap for Easing COVID-19 Restrictions, effective June 1

This advice has since been updated

From this Friday, 19 June 2020, each walking group can increase from 20 to 75. Physical distancing of one person per 4sqm must still be maintained. The total number of people who can gather in one location has increased from 80 to 300 (up to 4 groups of 75). Each group of up to 75 should remain separate. Read more.

Restrictions and advice affecting walking clubs

Effective June 1

Today we have received confirmation from the Office of Recreation, Sport and Racing (ORSR), that walking clubs will be able to increase walk numbers up to 20 participants per group (plus 1 walk leader, totaling 21 people), from 1 June 2020. Other than the increase in numbers, all recommendations around distancing and hygiene maintenance still apply (1.5m between participants should still be maintained, and 1 person per 4 square metres). No more than 4 groups of 20 should be ‘gathered’ at any one time.

The ORSR is recommending that all clubs complete a COVID-19 Safe Plan prior to recommencing, however this is only mandatory for groups/clubs using clubrooms.

The recent specific advice issued by ORSR can be viewed on their website.

View the supporting advice (but note the above changes).

Covid-19 restrictions easing, where can you walk? Effective Monday 11 May 2020

Covid-19 return to sport – Level B – effective Monday 11 May 2020From Monday 11 May 2020, some COVID-19 social distancing restrictions in South Australia have been eased.

You can now, provided you are well, not in self isolation and follow social distancing and hygiene measure guidelines:

  • go for a walk in your neighbourhood
  • walk in a national park, forest or reserve
  • travel throughout the State to go for a walk
  • walk in a group, provided there are 10 people or less
  • join a walk with a walking club (walking clubs should refer to Plan for resumption of walking club activities – Level B)
  • camp in a national park campsite
  • camp in a Forestry SA campsite – but only from Monday 25 May 2020
  • hike and camp on the Heysen Trail (previously it was restricted to day-walkers only)

Find a trail to go for a walk: view map or browse over 700 walks.

Covid-19: Plan for resumption of walking club activities – Level B – effective Monday 11 May 2020

This advice has since been updated

From this Friday, 19 June 2020, each walking group can increase from 20 to 75. Physical distancing of one person per 4sqm must still be maintained. The total number of people who can gather in one location has increased from 80 to 300 (up to 4 groups of 75). Each group of up to 75 should remain separate. Read more.

As restrictions from COVID-19 ease, the Office of Recreation, Sport and Racing advised all peak sporting and recreation bodies of the requirement to submit a plan for resumption of activities, which adhered to the national and state regulations. The formal, approved plan for walking is below. The key points are to:

  • Maintain walking groups of 10 or fewer
  • Maintain physical distance and hygiene practices
  • Avoid sharing equipment

Covid-19: Plan for resumption of walking club activities – Level B

Covid-19 return to sport – Level B – effective Monday 11 May 2020

This plan for walking clubs has been formulated in accordance with, and is effective immediately:

National guidelines

South Australian Restrictions

Overview

The resumption of walking activities can contribute many health, economic, social and cultural benefits to Australian society emerging from the COVID-19 environment and international evidence to-date is suggestive that outdoor activities are a lower risk setting for COVID-19 transmission.

The resumption of activities should not compromise the health of individuals or the community and will be based on objective health information to ensure activities are conducted safely and do not risk increased COVID-19 local transmission rates.

During Level B restrictions, walking club activities will be restricted to groups of 10 or fewer. Moving to the next stage of restrictions (Level C) will be dependent upon National, State/Territory and/or Local Public Health Authority guidance.  Importantly, resumption of walking club activities may be non-linear. Increasing restrictions may be required in response to fluctuating numbers of COVID-19 cases. All organisations need to be flexible to accommodate and respond to changes in community transmission rates and the associated changes in advice from Public Health Authorities.

At all times walking clubs must respond to the directives of Public Health Authorities. Localised outbreaks may require organisations to again restrict activity and those organisations must be ready to respond accordingly. The detection of a positive COVID-19 case in a sporting or recreation club or organisation will result in a standard public health response, which could include quarantine of the group, and close contacts, for the required period.  Due to the risks associated with large gatherings all walking club activities should limit those present to the minimum required to support the participants. All meeting venues should be assessed to ensure precautions are taken to minimise risk to those participating by accommodating social distancing requirements. Ideally, meeting points should be outside at the walk location and walk routes should favour loops or ‘there and back’ to avoid car-shuffles, noting many cars would not meet distancing requirements. Some walking clubs meet indoors prior to commencing walks or finish their walks with a social activity indoors. As recommended by the national guidelines, the current approach to club activities should focus on ‘get in, walk, get out’, minimising unnecessary contact in bathrooms and indoor areas. During Level B restrictions, walk leaders should choose clearly marked walking trails to minimise the likelihood of any first aid contact being required.  Ensure club safety protocols are in place, including a communication plan for each activity undertaken (e.g. mobile phones are carried, and numbers exchanged). Clubs and individuals should apply a graded return to mitigate injury risk, understanding that sudden increase in training load will predispose to injury.

All walks should be conducted with the social distancing and other requirements in place at the time, ensuring no contact between participants. This includes:

  • 1.5 metre minimum distance between participants
  • 4m2 minimum area per person
  • No single gathering shall exceed 10 people

For these purposes, a walk conducted by a club or involving club members is considered a gathering. Walks involving more than one club should not be held unless the total number attending is fewer than 10. Where a walking group exceeds 10 people, the walk should be split into 2 or more separate groups so that none exceed 10 people. If there is a possibility the number of people attending a walk will exceed 10, the leader should organise additional leaders for the separate groups. Where the groups intend to follow the same route, the leader of each following group must ensure that the group does not overlap or merge with the group ahead.

The configuration of each group shall not change during the walk. Except as necessary to deal with an emergency, participants should not move into a different group part way through the walk. Where possible, the walk participants should register with the walk leader before commencing. A simple record of all participants in each walk should be kept for at least 2 months to assist with contact tracing in the event a participant becomes unwell.

Steps for clubs to take prior to recommencing activities:

  • Provide advice to all participants not to return to club activities if in the last 14 days they have been unwell or had contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19. Any individual with respiratory symptoms (even if mild) should be considered a potential case and must immediately self-isolate, have COVID-19 excluded and be medically cleared by a doctor to return to the training environment.
  • Create a club-specific protocol for recording walk participants and managing illness or injury (both during walks and if alerted to a participant’s illness after a club activity). Special consideration should be made for any participants with medical conditions as they may be more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.
  • Have cleaning protocols in place for any equipment and facilities utilised.
  • If relevant, provide hand hygiene (hand sanitisers) on entry and exit to meeting venues
  • Advise walk leaders to plan walks based upon the guidelines contained within this plan.
  • Communicate this plan (and any club-specific steps) to all club members.

Steps for all club members:

  • Apply personal hygiene (wash hands or use hand sanitisers) pre and post activities. Consider bringing hand-sanitizer for personal use.
  • Do not share drink bottles, food, cups, plates, or any utensils for cooking, eating or drinking, or other personal items.
  • Do not attend any walks or activities if unwell (contact doctor).
  • Spitting and clearing of nasal/respiratory secretions while walking must be strongly discouraged.
  • Thorough full body shower with soap before and after walking club activities (at home).
  • No socialising or group meal.

The Cars That Ate Mannum

This is a story similar in name, with some comparisons, to the Cars that demanded to behave how they chose in a 1974 Peter Weir movie.

We have lived in the River town of Mannum for 14 years and been part of the Heart Foundation Walking program since 2012. I walk the walk with my dog friend Minnie who demands an outing every morning. With the Heart Foundation Walkability Checklist in hand this story of observation and questions about regional infrastructure begins.

In Mannum there is a lack of sealed and level made walking paths along most streets to suit all ability walking. Many of the walking paths are of a granite or limestone gravel construction that are often rutted and angled. So pedestrians and mobility scooters are forced to use roads in competition with the cars.

A few things stand out on our daily walks here, the first being a lack of sealed and level made walking paths along most streets to suit all ability walking. Many of the walking paths about this town are of a granite or limestone gravel construction that are often rutted and angled. Pedestrians and mobility scooters in turn use the roads in competition with the Cars, a bad option, for a safer surface to navigate the town. Our Councillor, Steve Wilkinson, campaigned for footpath upgrades more than once in Council meetings. Sadly we lost Steve, our only footpath campaigner, when he was hit by a vehicle and killed while riding his bicycle on Hunter Road east of Mannum in April 2019.

In Mannum cars are often parked on the roadside paths, forcing pedestrians to walk on the street.

As for the Cars, they randomly park on our walking paths around the town, sometimes in small herds similar to the Peter Weir movie. For some reason Cars must be parked as close as possible to the entrance of houses to reduce the time wasted walking any distance. Is this a global phenomena to reduce any chance of enhancing personal fitness? Unfortunately very few infringements or re-education notices are directed towards the Cars That Ate Mannum so far, possibly to keep the Cars happy and because a complaint must be submitted.

A car parked across the footpath forces vulnerable people with a disability to leave the footpath

So often it is not until we wear the shoes of those afflicted with a disability that we can appreciate the failings of design and infrastructure like walking surface quality or path ramps that lead nowhere with the lack of a safe path to walk or use a mobility aid. I have asked many local residents what they think of our walking infrastructure with most responses from all age groups being uncomplimentary, the Cars as expected they do not care. Our statewide “Regional Development” funding is often seen as being for tourism hiking/biking trails, town beautification or business support. But do the needs of permanent residents of the regions by way of safe and accessible all ability township paths need to be treated as a priority with “Regional Development” plans?

The Cars will still care less about blocking walking paths and those that use them until one day the Cars driver needs to walk the walk for their health or is confined to using a mobility aid. Can the Cars be educated to be more people friendly on and off the roads?

Gavin Smith
A Mannum local resident

To walk, or to run?

To walk, or to run? Turns out it doesn't matter, as long as your activity is aerobic - in that it raises your heart rate and gets you moving and sweating for a sustained period.

To walk, or to run?
In other words, if you’re looking to improve your health, is it better to commit to an occasional all-out sweat fest, or incorporate more walking and moving into your day?

A study suggests there’s an answer to this years-old conundrum: It doesn’t matter.

Research from the American Heart Association suggests that it doesn’t matter as long as your workouts fall into one category: aerobic exercise – defined as any movement that raises your heart rate and gets you moving and sweating for a sustained period.

An easy, regular walk or run to get involved in is parkrun. With 35 locations around South Australia each Saturday morning, Parkrun welcomes walkers as well as runners. Parkruns are free, socially-focussed 5km community events. Everyone in the community is invited to get involved – as walkers, runners and volunteers. It’s a great community, you’ll meet new people, and enjoy the coffee afterwards at a local cafe or meeting place.

Source:
Moderate‐to‐Vigorous Physical Activity and All‐Cause Mortality: Do Bouts Matter?
Published 22 Mar 2018, Journal of the American Heart Association. 2018;7:e007678

Feeling stressed out? Go for a walk.

Feeling stressed out? Go for a walk. The positive effects of a single exposure to nature make us feel happier for up to 7 hours.

Feeling stressed out?
Go for a walk.

The positive effects of a single exposure to nature make us feel happier for up to 7 hours.

We have long been aware of the positive effects of walking in nature can have on our mental health and wellbeing, and a study has found the positive effects of a single exposure to nature make us feel happier for up to 7 hours.

That means that walking to work in the morning, or taking the dog for a stroll first thing, can really leave you feeling happier all day.

The study by Urban Mind, including King’s College London, found that the benefits of experiencing nature on mental well-being are time-lasting and interact with an individual’s vulnerability to mental illness.

Walking can transform lives: psychologist Kylie Agnew on the benefits of walking for mental health

Walking transforms lives. Psychologist Kylie Agnew talks about her work with Operation Flinders using adventure activities for therapeutic populations. She saw people experience positive transformation through walking.

“Some of the changes I’ve seen in people have been huge, with the young people I’ve worked with, both on Operation Flinders and in other programs, seeing them change from the start to the finish of the eight days out in the wilderness. It’s been really inspirational. I was lucky enough to travel the world to see how some of these programs run in all different remote parts of the world. There’s a lot of people using walking to help people all around the world.”

Throughout October we’re celebrating walking with #walktoberSA

Transcript:

The World Health Organization recommends that we all walk everyday. I think we should be doing as much walking as possible, obviously within our busy lives, but making time to walk everyday is going to be important, but also building walking into our lives so that we all can benefit from walking, whether it’s physical and emotional or psychological benefit.

There’s a lot of different research that’s been done on why walking is good for mental health. Some of it’s been based obviously on the physical side, having general health, meaning that you’re going to be healthier mentally, but there’s also a lot of research to show that serotonin and different hormones are released when we walk and when we exercise, and then I guess we’ve also got that relationship building which is obviously another protective factor for mental health, building friendships, building relationships by spending time together.

For me personally, I just love being in the outdoors. It’s been a passion of mine since I grew up on a farm, and also going to university and studying adventure activities then moving into using adventure activities for therapeutic populations.

Some of the changes I’ve seen in people have been huge, with the young people I’ve worked with, both on Operation Flinders and in other programs, seeing them change from the start to the finish of the eight days out in the wilderness. It’s been really inspirational. I was lucky enough to travel the world to see how some of these programs run in all different remote parts of the world. There’s a lot of people using walking to help people all around the world.

Want to improve your mental health? Go for a walk.

Want to improve your mental health? Go for a walk. People who exercise have 43% fewer days of poor mental health.

Want to improve your mental health?
Go for a walk.

People who exercise have 43% fewer days of poor mental health.

It’s a common piece of advice: that exercise is pretty good for your mental health. A huge study published in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry has found that literally just walking can improve your mental health.

Individuals who exercised had 43% fewer days of poor mental health in the past month than individuals who did not exercise. All exercise types were associated with a lower mental health burden (between 11.8% and 22%).

The study of 1.2m people appeared in the Lancet Journal on August 8th 2018.

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

What is the issue?

The State Government is seeking input in order to review the Pastoral Act.

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 ventures1, and recognises 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. To clarify, by “off-trail bushwalking” we often mean following old vehicle tracks, or walking in a low impact environment, and can include camping for a few nights.

The Act also provides what are called Public Access Routes (PARs), which are often used by 4WDers for recreational use. They are well established and will likely probably remain, but our concerns are for access to other lands not part of PARs.

How could changes to Pastoral Act impact on recreational bushwalking? What are our concerns?

Currently, people intending to undertake bushwalks must notify the lessee of their intentions to walk, and the lessee can only deny access in certain scenarios. If support vehicles are to be used (or if the activity is recreational 4WDing), consent must be gained from the lessee.

Whilst we acknowledge that the Pastoral Act needs updating to allow for more flexible uses, including tourism and energy production, as well as the current need for cultural sensitivities, or mining activities, we’re concerned that access for recreational bushwalking may become restricted in these lands outside those limited, defined areas.

As tourism ventures are being considered to be included in the Act, this could further restrict access for recreational bushwalkers. We acknowledge that in some circumstances tourism ventures may be predicated on offering an exclusive access to experience the land, but would urge the Government to consider how this could adversely affect access for recreational bushwalking if it was widely implemented.

Who does this impact (in the context of undertaking recreational bushwalking)?

  1. Individuals doing self-planned self-guided bushwalking (in reality this is not individuals, but small groups of say 2-8 people)
  2. Bushwalking clubs, predominately those being Member Walking Clubs of Walking SA (the peak body for all forms of walking in South Australia), particularly those active in doing off-trail bushwalks north of Hawker, for instance Adelaide Bushwalkers, Friends of the Heysen Trail, and ARPA Bushwalkers (collective membership approx. 2,000 people) and other smaller walking clubs.

Continue reading article

  1. Pastoral land in South Australia covers 410,000 square kilometres of the state, comprising 324 leases. The management, condition and use of pastoral lands is provided for in the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act 1989. Link to Act.

Adventure Based Wellbeing – what is the Traveller Effect?

OPINION PIECE

By Rod Quintrell

This article originally appeared in The View Magazine, official industry magazine of the South Australian Tourism Industry Council (TiCSA), formerly South Australian Tourism Industry Council (SATIC).

After presenting a workshop during the SA Tourism Conference I began to reflect on what benefits adventure based experiences can bring. This article is an attempt to explore the positive effects on psychological wellbeing of adventure based experiences.

Adventure based experiences are novel activities with hands on engagement, ideally in a group setting. Essentially the focus of these experiences is “learning by doing” – a fundamental tenant of Adventure Based Learning, which, in essence is a form of experiential education. Traditionally this also includes elements of physical engagement in a nature based setting, but does not necessarily need these components.

Two things can happen when we engage in new or novel experiences. Firstly – the working memory part of your pre frontal cortex needs to be engaged to learn and secondly, by default, your existing patterns of behaviour are temporarily changed to deal with these new experiences.

This leads to an internal phenomenon most people can relate with – what I call the traveller effect. When you return home from an epic adventure and there is that short lived period of ‘upbeatness’ and openness to change.

Some answers may lie within the science of Positive Psychology, a blend of humanistic and cognitive behavioural theories. It’s founder, Martin Seligman, suggests we need five ingredients for psychological wellbeing… Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment.

Adventure tourism, or that epic Heysen Trail trek you just returned from, contains many of these ingredients in varied ways.

Does the immediacy of Adventure Tourism make it the ultimate form of mindfulness?  Experience engagement or flow is all about here and now – you cannot experience flow without being in the moment. Meaning can be about understanding the value of things being in the journey, not the destination.  Accomplishment in this context can be satisfaction or perhaps trail completion.

When I first entered into the outdoor recreation / adventure tourism space I had clear vision of the potential physical and mental health benefits of extended time in nature with a small group of people, trained and equipped to deal with the chosen activity. I personally experienced, and have been privileged to witness, significant lasting personal change through adventure travel and it’s resultant effects on self.

This leads me into understanding that the science backed benefits can be split into three areas:

  1. Time in Nature – Studies have continually shown the varied health benefits. A 2016 article in Nature suggests the next big global heath issue is urbanisation, and experiences in nature produced physical, mental and social health improvements.
  2. The benefits of diet and exercise on our wellbeing are varied and well documented. From understanding that exercise is seen as a treatment option for depression to exploring the role food has on mood, the evidence is in – healthy body – healthy mind.
  3. The benefits of novelty engagement – “learning by doing” – a fundamental element of Adventure Based Learning, a form of Experiential Education. The evidence suggests the learning is far likelier to be retained if engaged. The benefits of mindful engagement are well accepted in heath literature.

Beyond Blue estimates three million Australians are currently living with Anxiety or Depression. In 2016, the cost to Australian taxpayers was, according to the Mental Health Commission, $60 BILLION Dollars, $4000 per taxpayer!

To me, adventure is a state of mind and is subjective to the individual, but adventure based learning and its societal wellbeing benefits are more objective. Perhaps if we all adopted an adventure holiday mindset in our day to day existing, and of course on our short breaks in South Australia, we all might experience the benefits.

Now…  where is my kayak….?

 

Bibliography:

South Australians walking for recreation and health. What would encourage them to walk more?

Walking along the River Torrens in AdelaideA recent RAA SA Active Transport survey confirmed that most people who walk do so for recreation (85%) or local trips (50%) with health/fitness (81%) and relaxation being their main motivations.

Respondents suggested that they might walk more if there were better quality footpaths (46%), lighting (35%) and pedestrian facilities along the route such as water fountains.

The most effective ways of securing safety were also footpath upgrades and lighting as well as clearing vegetation and separation from other road users that travel at higher speed.

The majority of respondents were supportive of government funding being redirected from road projects onto pedestrian infrastructure.

Call for a state-wide walking strategy

The Heart Foundation is calling for the SA State Government to develop and fund a state-wide walking strategy to increase the number of people walking in both metropolitan and regional areas.

A walking strategy would not only be good for health, but has numerous social, economic and environmental benefits. The Heart Foundation promotes the value of walkable environments across multiple Government portfolios.

What can you do? Keep walking. Write to your local council asking for better walking facilities. Write to the Health Minister asking for a walking strategy.

Walking SA supports this agenda, and will partner with the Heart Foundation to advocate and build support from our community.

Got an idea to inspire your community to get moving? $10,000 grants up for grabs.

Have you got a new idea that helps people to get active? Your idea might be the key to get your community on the move.

More than 50% of Australians miss out on the exercise they need. Regular physical activity helps to control other heart health risks, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight.

Got an idea to inspire your community to get moving? Share it with the Heart Foundation’s Active Australia Innovation Challenge. The Challenge is awarding 8 winning ideas with up to a $10,000 grant each. Current round closes 31 July.

Explore ideas and get inspiration from 2018’s grants. Find out more at heartfoundation.org.au/active-australia-innovation-challenge

The City of Marion adopts Walking and Cycling Guidelines

Planning for pedestrians is rare in South Australia.  Aided by funding from the State government, plenty of Councils have developed a bicycle plan, but few have done the same for walking – none in recent years.

So we welcome the City of Marion updating it’s 2012 Walking and Cycling Strategy with these Guidelines 2018-2022.

The Guidelines have been prepared by the consultants, Oxigen. Their adoption has not been without controversy, with broad-ranging calls for narrower streets and wider footpaths being rejected by Councillors.

Nevertheless there is enough in the adopted Guidelines in terms of safer road crossings, more street trees and “increasing footpath width where appropriate” to provide a source of support for residents wanting to improve the walkability of Marion’s suburbs.

The Guidelines make it obvious that much could be done, especially in the newer, hillier suburbs south of Darlington.  There, pedestrians suffer from bad street layouts that make distances from home to anywhere much more lengthy than they would be on the plain.  Here are two snapshots from the Guidelines contrasting the road layouts of Edwardstown and one of the newer suburbs, such as Sheidow Park or Trott Park:

Two snapshots from the Guidelines contrasting the road layouts of Edwardstown and one of the newer suburbs, such as Sheidow Park or Trott Park. In the latter, footpaths are typically on one side of the road often less than a metre wide, and even the reserves don’t have paths.

Two snapshots from the Guidelines contrasting the road layouts of Edwardstown and one of the newer suburbs, such as Sheidow Park or Trott Park. In the latter, footpaths are typically on one side of the road often less than a metre wide, and even the reserves don’t have paths.

Street trees are rare, as this aerial of Sheidow Park indicates:

Street trees are rare, as this aerial of Sheidow Park indicates.

Street trees are rare, as this aerial of Sheidow Park indicates.

While improving connectivity will be difficult, a lot can be done to improve walking conditions at street level.  Fortunately a new source of funding to do this should become available via the State Liberal Government’s Greening Neighbourhoods Program.

We have yet to see the details, but it is understood that funding from the Open Space Levy paid by developers will soon be available to help pay for the greening of suburban streets, including street trees and infrastructure such as treenet inlets.  These would act to keep the trees healthy, discourage tree routes from snaking under footpaths to suburban lawns (wrecking the pavement in the process), while at the same time helping to make our drains better able to cope with the flooding.

Left:- Tree roots at right angle to infrastructure: unsafe footpaths & damaged kerbs. Right:- Tree roots parallel to infrastructure: safe footpaths and undamaged kerbs.

Left:- Tree roots at right angle to infrastructure: unsafe footpaths & damaged kerbs. Right:- Tree roots parallel to infrastructure: safe footpaths and undamaged kerbs.