Pedalling his way to a clean, green city vision: Derek Goforth dreams big on cycle paths

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
School teacher Derek Goforth.
Camera IconSchool teacher Derek Goforth. Credit: Picture: Michael Roberts

As someone who completely transformed themselves by losing more than 100kg in seven years, Derek Goforth knows the value of a healthy lifestyle.

An avid bike rider, Mr Goforth is promising to dream big on extending cycle paths around Geraldton as part of his pitch for city council.

“I think we’ve got the goods north to south but we need to link the CBD and foreshore to the east as well,” he said.

“If I was to dream big I’d link every suburb with every other suburb to make it possible to ride from one place in the city to another by using a cycle path.

“While I’m confident to ride around, I’m not confident in my children’s ability just to ride on the road.”

The school teacher’s ambition doesn’t just stop at cycle paths, either. He wants the port city to become a world leader in solar, wind and geothermal power.

“Geraldton should be two things in 20 years time,” he said.

“It should be the tourist mecca of the west coast and a world leader in renewable energy because we are well situated to do both those things. If we keep going in the right direction we can earn those titles. I don’t think it’s overly ambitious.”

Originally from the UK, Mr Goforth moved to Mullewa 13 years ago and started teaching maths at the local high school.

“I’m a good mediator,” he said.

“I’m good at getting people around a table that have a disagreement. Working with teenagers for 30 years, you get used to bringing people together to solve conflict.”

MORE NEWS

Mr Goforth said Geraldton had room for improvement when it came to making the city youth-friendly.

“You take PCYC as a case in point, they do some fantastic work with disengaged youth,” he said.

“But the amount of kids they get, they need to be four times the size. At the moment the infrastructure we use needs to be improved.”

Describing himself as “tenacious”, Mr Goforth said losing close to 100kg since 2013 had taught him some important life lessons.

“You don’t transform yourself inside and out without sticking to a task,” he said.

“If I have something I think needs to be done I don’t care how many hours it will take.

“I used to preach to my kids about leading a healthy lifestyle, getting active, but I felt like I was being a complete hypocrite doing that — it was the same at school.

“We might be one of the only positive role models in the children’s lives and I just had to look at myself and walk the walk.”

Voting for this year’s local government elections closes on October 16.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails