Creating walkable and wheelable communities that are accessible by everyone will be discussed at a community forum to be held in Lismore next week.

The community consultation – organised by the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Ageing (MACA) – will be held at Invercauld House at Goonellabah on Thursday, 19 March.

It will have the theme All Ages, One Liveable Community and will explore ways of creating walkable and wheelable communities that are safe and pleasant for everyone to use.

The Chairman of MACA, Pino Migliorino, said the forum would focus on some of the different areas that made a community liveable, including well-designed footpaths that people feel confident and safe to use; having family, friends and social networks nearby; and having access to health and community services.

“It is widely acknowledged that liveable communities are a significant issue, particularly with the increased ageing population. Therefore, we need to identify ways and means of making our urban communities age-friendly,” he said.

The key areas of discussion will be:

  • Physical elements such as dispersed development, the lack of footpaths, or poorly designed footpaths so that people do not feel safe and secure using them; adequate shade, seating and lighting along footpaths; and limited public transport options.
  • Social and support networks that create liveable communities. This includes the importance of having family and friends and other support networks so that people feel connected to their community and their economic ability to continue to participate in community life.
  • Accesses to services, making sure communities have the capacity to access services.

Mr Migliorino said delegates would have a chance to discuss the issues and possible solutions to make communities more walkable and wheelable.

“We hope to get feedback from the community on what resources, partnerships and stakeholders they think are required to help develop livable communities,” he said.

“Now is the time for all members of the community and all tiers of government to work together to identify solutions.

“We need to take a holistic approach so that everyone – but especially older people – can remain physically active and active in their local communities.”

The community consultation sessions are open to people of any age and background who are interested in communities being walkable, wheelable, safe and pleasant.

Mr Migliorino said he hoped a wide cross section of people would attend the consultation, including social planners, councils, developers, health and community workers, community organisations and older people who could provide feedback on their experiences in getting around their community.

The consultation findings will be reported to the NSW Minister for Ageing, Paul Lynch, who is responsible for overseeing the NSW Government’s ageing strategy Towards 2030.

The consultation details are:

Thursday 19 March 2009, 9.00am–1.00pm

Invercauld House, 161 Invercauld Road, Goonellabah

Places are limited and people wanting to attend should register by calling (07) 5569 3994 or online at maca¬_info@dadhc.nsw.gov.au

The consultations are organised by the MACA, with the support of the Office for Ageing, NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care.  For further information, visit www.maca.nsw.gov.au