Nelson to host walk-cycle talks

A national conference boosting the profile of cycling and walking is on its way to Nelson.

The 2014 2Walk & Cycle annual national conference, organised by the Cycling Advocates Network (CAN) and Living Streets Aotearoa, will be held in Nelson from October 29-31 next year.

Nelson Tasman Tourism, the Nelson branch of the 2Walk&Cycle committee and the Nelson City Council worked together to put a submission to the conference organising committee. Nelson won the hosting rights from Dunedin and Palmerston North.

Transport engineer and conference organising committee member Peter Kortegast said the three-day conference would be held at Founders Heritage Park. It was timed to fall after the 2014 Nelson Arts Festival.

The conference aimed to raise the profile of cycling and walking in New Zealand, he said. "It's a perfect opportunity to get together and share ideas, present papers and get educated," he said.

Local advocates were very passionate about bringing it to Nelson, he said.

"However, I don't think the committee needed that much convincing in the end. We've never had a conference in Nelson even though it is one of the highest modal shared towns in New Zealand," he said.

Council communications adviser Ali Hamblin said the aim of the submission was to highlight all the great walking and cycling programmes in the area. This may have helped the council to win three cycle friendly awards and a Golden Foot walking award, she said.

It was this commitment to walking and cycling and some creative ideas for keeping delegates entertained that tipped the balance in favour of Nelson, she said.

Conference organiser and University of Canterbury PhD candidate Jillian Frater said she hoped the conference would help New Zealand to incorporate some European practices into the New Zealand culture.

The same geography department academic attended the first 2Walk&Cycle conference that had both cycling and walking advocates in Hastings in 2012.

The Nelson Mail