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New Westminster tops Burnaby in the 2022 Walk30 Challenge

Burnaby and New Westminster elementary school students among this year’s most dedicated Walk30 participants
Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley, New West Mayor Jonathan Cote and students were among the folks attending a the wrapup of this year's Walk30 Challenge.

The Golden Shoephy has returned to New West.

New Westminster has once again placed first in the Burnaby/New Westminster Walk30 Challenge, recapturing a title it won in 2018 and 2019. After a one-year COVID-related hiatus, the event returned in 2021 – with the results so close that it was deemed to be a tie between the two cities.

But New West reclaimed its title this year, when residents logged an average of 36.9 walking minutes per day between April 11 and May 15 – surpassing the challenge’s goal of getting folks to walk for 30 minutes per day.

“I am optimistic that the community will continue walking to work, school and to run errands, because we can all walk, wheel or roll to reduce the number of trips made by car, in line with our sustainable transportation goals,” said Mayor Jonathan Cote. “We all win when we walk more every day.”

Burnaby, however, was close behind, with its registered residents walking an average of 34.3 minutes per day.

“Burnaby went above and beyond in the Walk30 Challenge, and we exceeded our goal by walking an average of 34.3 minutes a day,” Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley said in a news release. “I’m especially pleased with participation from Burnaby schools. Walking to school is a great way to start a lifelong habit of exploring our community on foot and using active transportation to get to our destinations. When we walk more, we improve our health and the health of the planet.”

The Walke30 Challenge is an annual friendly competition between New Westminster and Burnaby that encourages residents to walk more in their communities and to rethink how they get around. It seeks to inspire participants to choose walking as a mode of transportation for exercise and health, leisure and enjoyment, and for completing daily tasks and errands.

During the five-week challenge, participants log their daily walking minutes online.

Hurley and Cote, as well as students from Twelfth Avenue and Lord Kelvin elementary schools, gathered at Mary Avenue Park on May 30 for the announcement of this year’s winner and for the presentation of the Golden Shoephy award.

According to organizers, elementary school students were among the most dedicated Walk30 participants this year, walking to school and walking with their teachers and classmates.

Encouraging walking

The New Westminster Walkers Caucus, a group of local residents that advocates for walkers and walkability improvements in communities, launched the Walk30 Challenge in 2016 to encourage walkability in New Westminster. In 2017, the City of Burnaby joined the challenge and in 2018 the Walk30 Challenge Cup was introduced.

The 2022 Walk30 Burnaby/New Westminster Challenge was developed by the City of New Westminster and the City of Burnaby Healthier Community Partnership Committees. BEST (Better Environmentally Sound Transportation) ran this year’s event with support from the volunteer-led New Westminster Walkers’ Caucus.

Organizers note that although this year’s challenge is over, the cities of Burnaby and New Westminster continue to support sustainable transportation initiatives.

“Both Burnaby and New Westminster have a zero emissions by 2050 target, and a mode split target as part of their climate action goals,” said a Walk30 press release. “Burnaby aims for 75 per cent of trips to be taken by public transit or active transportation by 2050, and New Westminster aims to have 60 per cent of all trips to be taken by a sustainable transportation mode by 2030.”