QUESNEL – The North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee resolved last Tuesday to take an active role in helping residents lead healthier lifestyles to help meet the target of increasing physical activity by 20 percent by 2010.
The Committee, made up of representatives from the City of Quesnel and the Cariboo Regional District, resolved that the community will participate in 2010 Legacies Now’s 20% Challenge and register as an Active Community as part of the Province’s “ActNow BC” initiative, which sets such worthy goals as increasing physical activity and encouraging residents to make healthy dietary choices.
Regional District Chair and Director for Red Bluff and South Quesnel Ted Armstrong said the decision was a simple one. “Developing a healthy, active lifestyle will improve your quality of life,” he said. “Going for extra walks during the week and making smarter food choices, are a couple simple things people can do. The bottom line is that if you’re healthy, you’re happy and more productive.”
Quesnel City Coun. Mary Sjostrom, Chair of the Quesnel Spirit of B.C. Community Committee, said an active community is a vibrant one. “I want to encourage everyone in the community, from youngsters to seniors, to take part,” she said. “It has to be all encompassing, but we have to have some fun with it, too.”
“We are very pleased that the City of Quesnel and the Cariboo Regional District have taken up the 20% Challenge and are committed to exploring ways of promoting a healthy lifestyle among its residents and employees,” added Marion Lay, president and CEO of 2010 Legacies Now. “Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day can lead to a more productive and healthier community and work force.”
2010 Legacies Now is a not-for-profit society that works in partnership with community organizations, non-government organizations, the private sector and all levels of government to develop sustainable legacies in sport & recreation, arts, literacy and volunteerism. 2010 Legacies Now actively assists communities discover and create unique and inclusive social and economic opportunities leading up to, during and beyond the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The City of Quesnel and the Cariboo Regional District join Vancouver, Kelowna, the City of Kimberley, Fort St. John, Gibsons, Abbotsford, the District of Tumbler Ridge, Richmond, Surrey, Kamloops and Penticton as communities who have adopted the 20% Challenge to date, with the goal of helping British Columbia to become the healthiest jurisdiction to host an Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The community also joins several schools in School District 28 that are already taking part in the Action Schools! BC program. Students at Carson, Dragon Lake, Kersley, Riverview and Voyageur elementary schools are taking their health seriously by exercising and eating nutritious foods.
The British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association is implementing the “Active Communities” initiative province-wide this fall with funding from 2010 Legacies Now. It hopes to develop a network of community-based “Active Communities” throughout the province. The program provides workshops and tool kits to help develop Active Communities Plans and will provide other resources, grants and networking opportunities.
Jeff Norburn, Recreation Manager for the Quesnel and District Leisure Services department has been actively involved with the development of the Active Communities initiative on a provincial level, providing input into the development of support materials for the program. He has been selected as one of a number of workshop facilitators who will be providing workshops throughout the province to assist other communities in developing an ‘Active Communities’ plan.
“Obesity levels in North America have been increasing at an alarming rate, particularly among our youth,” Norburn noted. “Reversing this trend is a challenge that requires a coordinated strategy and the engagement of a wide range of community partners.”
An “Active Communities Committee” has been established for the Quesnel area that includes representatives from the Leisure Services Department, Quesnel Spirit of B.C. Community Committee, Northern Health, School District 28 and representatives from special population groups such as youth and seniors. The committee will develop a multi-year plan designed to achieve the goals set out in the Active Communities program. Elements of the plan will include strategies to:
- Increase communication and public awareness of the importance of active living.
- Encourage the development of programs and infrastructure to make it easier for people to become active.
- Advocate for the incorporation of healthy living initiatives into the development of local government plans and policies.
- Engage a wide range of community partners, including local government, health, education recreation, the private sector, and special interest groups, to work together to increase activity levels.
- Determine the current activity levels for the region and develop a means to measure outcomes of the plan.
The plan is scheduled to officially launch in January 2006.
Manager of Communications
Cariboo Regional District
250-392-3351 or 1-800-665-1636
City of Quesnel
Director of Communications
2010 Legacies Now