Calls are being made for Bunbury to become a more pedestrian-friendly city, not least for the improvements it will bring to people's standard of living. Among those supporting the idea is UK researcher Rodney Tolley, who explained that walking has a positive effect on both the environment and the health of local people.
Bunbury's Community Access Committee (CAC) has also offered its backing to the plans, which it believes should be brought into force across Bunbury's major shopping areas.
"The CAC also supports allocating resources to achieve appropriately designed and constructed pedestrian infrastructure in the City of Bunbury," said deputy mayor Brendan Kelly.
"Dr Tolley's visit was very interesting and his vast experience and knowledge is invaluable to the city as we progress towards becoming Australia's most accessible regional city."
The plans will now be assessed further before it is decided how is the right way to proceed. Funding has already been received from the Department of Local Government and Communities and South West Development Commission, which will be used for putting together an Age Friendly Communities Strategic Plan. A number of criteria will be used to decide which areas need to be pedestrianised.
Several major changes are in the pipeline across Bunbury at the moment, including plans to introduce more opportunities for al fresco dining throughout the CBD. Residents of property in Dalyellup will now be able to eat at two converted sea containers, which have been adapted by two major eateries in the city for a unique dining experience.
A new shade structure has also been given the green light by the local council at a cafe on Prinsep Street, which has also helped expand the number of outdoor eating options. Councillors have praised local businesses for their willingness to bring fresh ideas to the Bunbury CBD.