Youth steps up for cycling in Waitemata

Isabella addressing the Council and Mayor Len Brown
Isabella addressing the Council and Mayor Len Brown

On Monday, 28 July the new Youth Council was sworn in at the Council chambers.

The representative for the Waitemata Local Board is Isabella Lenihan-Ikin. She gave a great speech to the Council and Mayor Len Brown where she challenged them to step up to the challenge of providing cycling as a real transport option for Aucklanders.

Her speech is below:

Kia Ora Koutou Katoa.

It is a privilege and honour to speak here this evening, as a member of the Youth Advisory Panel representing young people from Waitemata. Len Brown, I would firstly like to thank you for being a Mayor who is engaged with all facets of our city; you have set up these panels because you understand what living in a democracy is about; you understand that decision making should be collaborative, and that it is not just those who can vote that should have their voice heard. So on behalf of young Aucklanders, thank you for inviting us to the conversations.

Our Auckland should be one where children play in the shared gardens of their ‘density done well’ houses, and where roads are designed not just for cars; but for pedestrians and cyclists, where our local beaches should be clean enough to swim in, and where everyone is able to not only get a job, but have a job that enables them to support their family.

But, transport is the issue that concerns me most about Auckland, and I just want to inject some hope into the future of Auckland’s transport network. Thirty years ago, in the 1980’s, the now cycling capital of the world, Copenhagen began transforming itself from a city like Auckland; one dominated by cars, to a city that now has over 400km of designated, separated cycle ways.

How? Well, it came down to the gumption and commitment of the city councillors. They realised the problem, and they just began making it more and more difficult for cars to travel within the city, and at the same time, increasingly more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists.

Mayor Len Brown, and the other Councillors and Local Board Members here this evening, Auckland is at a pivotal point, you have the backing of all young Aucklanders, when I say have some gumption, and create a liveable city designed for people and cyclists – for us – not just for cars.

Kia Ora.

Full disclosure: Izzy is my cousin. She is also a very articulate and committed advocate on environmental and youth issues. We are very proud of everything she has done and will continue to do in the future – which I am sure will be a lot. Good on you Izzy!

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