Promoting healthy living through parks and gardens

Bayswater City Council in Western Australia has created a picturesque family leisure amenity, together with a program to promote healthy living. Riverside Gardens is located along the foreshore of the Swan River. As part of its redevelopment, Councilís Riverside Gardens Walking Trails Project aims to improve the heart health of the community by increasing their participation in physical activity.

Under the Federal Governmentís Building Better Cities Program, the City of Bayswater received funds in 1994 to redevelop the Swan River foreshore from wasteland to a recreational amenity. In October 1995, Council, together with the East Metropolitan Population Health Unit and Swan Health Service, developed a Local Government health promotion initiative Ė the Be Active Together program.

The area now includes a foreshore embayment, parking area, seating, playground area, toilets, riverside gazebo, dog exercise area, bird sanctuary and barbecues. One component of the redevelopment includes three kilometres of lit, wheelchair accessible, dual use footpaths, all completed by 1997.

The Riverside Gardens Walking Trails Project included the construction of entry statements, informational signage and directional markers for the Reserveís three kilometres of walking trails, as well as public relations and other activities to promote the Reserve and Walking Trails Project. Utilising the existing walking trails, three walks were created to meet peoplesí different levels of physical ability.

The local primary school in Bayswater was approached to develop directional symbols to differentiate and illustrate the various walks. Bayswater Primary School is acknowledged on the signage for its assistance and following the Projectís completion, those students who produced the symbols were presented with a certificate and a book voucher from the Council.

The Riverside Gardens Walking Trails Project won both the State and National Recreation Facility categories in the 2001 Heart Foundation Kellogg Local Government Awards.

For further information on the City of Bayswater Be Active Together Program, contact Councilís Project Officer, Louise Cole on (08) 9272 9399.