Green Action Centre’s Active and Safe Routes to School (ARSTS) has reasons to celebrate. On February 23rd, School Travel Planning — a key project within ASRTS —  was recognized with a Manitoba Planning Excellence Award.

School Travel Planning was first piloted in Manitoba two years ago, and has since expanded to nearly 20 schools around the province. A community-based approach that brings stakeholders from diverse sectors together to examine barriers to, and create a plan for children’s active travel to and from school, the School Travel Planning(STP) process creates a safer community for everyone. While enabling children’s safety is a priority, benefits from engaging in STP include increases in health, improved air quality, and a more engaged populace, which builds a healthier community overall.

Sponsored by Manitoba Local Government’s Community Planning and Development division, the Manitoba Planning Excellence Awards acknowledge individuals, organizations, companies and Manitoba municipalities and planning districts in their efforts to enhance communities through innovative and high quality planning initiatives. The Awards promote outstanding planning practice deliberately guided by and supporting sustainable development principles in Manitoba communities. This includes planning processes, as well as products, that support well-being by design.

All of us at ASRTS and Green Action Centre are really honoured to have been chosen by a jury that included representatives from Manitoba Local Government and agencies and individuals with planning expertise in Manitoba including:

• Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM)
• Institute of Urban Studies, University of Winnipeg (IUS)
• Manitoba Professional Planners Institute (MPPI)
• Rural Development Institute, Brandon University (RDI)
• City Planning, University of Manitoba (UMCP)


We also find the award timely, coinciding as it does with our expansion of STP to communities around Manitoba through our School Travel Planning Training program. We piloted our recently completed STP Training Program in January (Pinawa), and another workshop earlier this week (Brandon).  We’ll be delivering more workshops in Thompson (March 1) and The Pas (March 5) — and we’re planning one for Headingley later this spring.

Aiming to build capacity for School Travel Planning at the local level, our trainings consist of 2 webinars and an in-person training day — all of which familiarize key community stakeholders in the process and tools that enable successful School Travel Planning implementation. With so much momentum building around School Travel Planning in Manitoba, and recognition from such an esteemed group of professionals, we can honestly say: It’s all at a very exciting stage!

Green Action Centre would like to acknowledge and thank the agencies and departments whose financial partnership makes our school travel planning program possible — the Government of Manitoba through Manitoba Conservation and Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors; the EcoAction program of Environment Canada; the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba; Recreation Connections Manitoba and Green Communities Canada.

Would you like training in an award-winning community planning process for your community? Just contact us. We’d be happy to discuss it with you!