Hastings has won the rights to hold the inaugural National Walking and Cycling Conference in 2012.
The combined conference, to be held in early 2012, will replace the two series of cycling conferences and walking conferences, which have been held individually, biennially in the past".
The combined conference is expected to attract a large number of delegates to Hastings and allow representatives from both sectors to tackle shared barriers and challenges, at the one forum.
In awarding Hastings the conference, the New Zealand Walking and Cycling Conference committee acknowledged the high quality and thought that had gone into the bid and the great opportunity which exists for delegates to experience both walking and cycling opportunities in Hawke‟s Bay.
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule says "hosting the conference builds on the Council winning the $4.1m New Zealand Transport Agency model communities grant, which is being used to develop the iWay programme with the aim of making Hastings a biking and walking friendly city, which leads the way in New Zealand. When we combine this with the huge level of cycling projects already underway in the region, it further cements Hawke‟s Bay‟s claim as the „Cycling Capital of New Zealand‟."
Delegates will stay in Hastings and bikes will be available to enable them to walk or ride to and from the conference, in order to give them first hand experience of cycleways and other initiatives, which make walking and cycling in Hastings easy, safe and fun.
Hawke‟s Bay cycling advocate Paul McArdle said "this will be a great opportunity to show-off, not just the positive social and economic results from the Hastings iWay investment but also Hawke's Bay's expanding network of world class cycle trails."
"Winning this conference further confirms Hawke's Bay is leading the country in getting people back on bikes."Mr McArdle says.
The conference is supported by the Hastings District Council, the Hawke‟s Bay Opera House, the Hawke‟s Bay Regional Council and the Hawke‟s Bay District Health Board, all of whom are enthusiastic about giving people better and more sustainable transportation choices.
CAPTION: Hastings District Councillor Jacoby Poulain gets on her bike for exercise while enjoying the Hawke's Bay sunshine