Mount Isa City Council—stakeholder engagement in planning for walking
Our draft guidance for developing walking network plans was piloted with 3 local governments in 2020–21.
We partnered with the Mt Isa City Council and local stakeholders to prepare a walking network plan (WNP) for the Mount Isa central business district (CBD). This plan focused on:
- improving walking links between the CBD and residential areas
- addressing safety concerns for roads immediately surrounding the CBD—the Barkly Highway and Camooweal Street carry high volumes of heavy vehicles.
- Planning for walking provided an opportunity for local stakeholders and the community to show their support for creating walkable environments.
- Seek stakeholder and community engagement—feedback and local knowledge improved the WNP, changing routes and extending the network to suburban links.
- Schedule enough time in your process to seek and incorporate community feedback.
- Include infrastructure to improve more comfortable walking—for example, shade trees and respite areas. This is particularly challenging in places that require permanent irrigation due to low rainfall.
In November 2020, council staff and community stakeholders took part in a workshop to review a draft WNP generated using online mapping and information.
The workshop included an audit walk of 2 primary routes to identify issues people currently have and opportunities to fix them. Participants identified:
- missing footpaths
- safe crossings and kerb ramps
- the need for more shade.
Caption - Mt Isa stakeholder engagement workshop
- guided the works program and highest priority improvements
- supported the council's focus on improving waking safety in the CBD.
The council sought further feedback from the community through public exhibition of the draft WNP.
The council is constructing priority works with a $150,000 grant from the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR).
Caption - New street trees have been planted in the city centre as part of Mt Isa's priority works implementation (image courtesy of Mt Isa City Council)
Insights and learnings
- Stakeholder engagement with the community and council identified a strong demand for quality and safe walking facilities.
- Important to include enough time in your process to seek and incorporate community feedback—computer mapping software provided a good basis for the draft WNP, however testing on the ground was useful.
- Community involvement improved the WNP map and works program in accuracy and usefulness—for example, the network was changed to connect residential areas to suburban destinations, not only the CBD.
- Include infrastructure that makes walking more comfortable—for example shade trees and respite areas. This is particularly challenging in places that require permanent irrigation due to low rainfall.
Caption - Draft Walking Network Plan for Mt Isa City Council area (image courtesy of Mt Isa City Council)
Stakeholder feedback highlighted:
- appreciation stakeholders had a voice and a starting point for a conversation about walking in their city—the pilot provided the framework for sharing local knowledge and input that refined the WNP and works program
- recognising broader community input was needed to ensure future walking projects and initiatives would be supported.
Danielle Slade, Mayor of Mount Isa City Council:
"While Mount Isa's existing footpath network is extensive, we are aware that it also contains many gaps and missing important linkages... This [plan] will assist Council to prioritise works in the future, in order to make this network more user-friendly and cohesive."
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