WHEN THE email arrived announcing the April Perth-based Your Move forum, I initially considered making the 880km round-trip to Perth to attend. This would entail two days away from the office and my family if I drove to Perth to attend as Great Southern Grammar's Your Move Coordinator.
Your Move (formerly Travel Smart) has been part of Great Southern Grammar's DNA for at least six years and, as the school is between Parent Champions, I considered it important to attend, lest we slip behind in our active transport initiatives. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation to attend a satellite event, hosted by the City of Albany, which would enable remote attendance at the forum. Thank you!
We had hoped to have our new Parent Champion attend with us, but these arrangements are still pending. Nevertheless, remote attendance was a terrific opportunity to connect with an Albany school new to the programme and with Perth-based schools on the Your Move journey, and to listen to and learn about other school's YM initiatives and progress.
Our school is in a unique position, being 20kms out of Albany with few effective means of transporting students to school using active transport other than the school buses. Our road, Nanarup Road, has no footpaths or bike paths and is in an 80km zone outside of school drop-off/pick-up times. It caries heavy traffic, trucks and caravans throughout the day and is too dangerous for children to traverse. There is a short section of dual-use footpath available to students who live in a small subdivision about 1km from the school. They can walk and/or ride to school each day, however, this applies to only a small number of students. Beyond this path is a thin dirt track weaving through the bush for 2kms that brings you to the King River Bridge and back to Nanarup Road. A very small number of riders who live nearby come to school this way, however, the track is challenging and can be unsafe or impassable in wet weather. It is also subject to a range of different land uses and titles, from private land to Crown land, and has strong significance to the local Indigenous community. As a consequence, over 75% of our students catch public transport to school. Our efforts to encourage active transport to school are therefore restricted due to these structural issues that we have tried, fruitlessly, to navigate with local and state governments over the years. We remain committed, despite these challenges!
Thank you for the opportunity to attend the forum, remotely. It was the opportunity to re-set our thinking around our YM plans and the catalyst to make sure that we continue to work hard to get our parents re-engaged with active transport.