Convenor’s Report 2010
2010 has been another big year. An energised Board of dedicated volunteers set about securing the long-term future of the BTA. Strategic Planning, engagement with stakeholders, corporate governance training, media, and the 101 things to keep the organisation running.
Cycling in WA has received a substantial boost with the Department of Sport and Recreation seeking to implement the recommendations of the Colin Brown “Developing a Community of Cycling in WA” Report. This seeks to bring together the various strands of cycling (sporting, recreational participation events and transport) into one Non-Government Organisation. The Minister for Sport and Recreation Hon. Terry Waldron has approved in-principle funds to support the NGO for at least two years to get the organisation established. Having the peak cycling groups working together for an inclusive cycling agenda for WA can only help the lot of everyday cyclists. BTA have been a strong supporter of the process to implement the recommendations and establishing the new NGO – which will be called Westcycle. We are currently seeking nominations for the inaugural Board of Westcycle to represent at Board level the issues that most impact on utility cyclists.
BTA have also engaged at a national level in the process headed by the Amy Gillett Foundation to ‘galvanise’ the Australian cycling community. This is a long-term strategy that has been tried before, and with AGF this time it may work. Trust and long memories are the key issues for thios process, and we will remain engaged participants in the process.
The year kicked off the day after the March 22 hailstorm with the Politicians and Mayors ride from Parliament House to Town of Claremont offices. Good lobbying was conducted and we strongly hoped for a good turnout at the inaugural “Y-cycle film festival at the Northbridge Piazza”. The weather (and warnings) and power cuts impacted strongly on attendance but we were supported by Bikewest, Cyclemania North Perth, Corner Café, Outback Jack’s and City of Perth for the event. Crumpler bags were raffled to lucky winners and many people enjoyed the short film presentation produced and directed by own filmic auteur Heinrich Benz.
We have refined the project for this year and it has expanded into a week long cinema tribute to cycling, with Heinrich taking the lead on the Wednesday evening with his films and compilations. Support from Bikewest is recognised.
Throughout the year we continued to engage with the Road Safety Council, the RAC and the Vulnerable Road Users Consultative Committee for better provision and consideration of cyclists. Board members met with Road Safety Council Chairperson Professor Darcy Holman, and received commitments for greater access to the full board of the council and also access to RAC publications for getting our message out there.
Due to a change in public service structure and the breakup with Planning, Department of Transport conducted a review of sustainable transport using consultant Simon Whitehouse. BTA made strong submissions on this process which looked at the provision of cycling related expenditure in Planning, Transport the various sub-agencies. The results of this review are not available as yet, so we are unable to determine what changes may result.
BTA have made several submissions to planning agencies and local governments including City of Stirling and the Stirling Alliance the proposed changes around the Herdsman, Innaloo, Stirling area. This was repeated for the Canning Bridge and Burswood precinct draft structure plans. The Town of Cambridge Bike Plan was advertised and BTA gave comment. We continue to work very hard to improve the City West PSP, despite the actions of the previous Transport Minister, Mr O’Brien, and hope the new Minister is able to deliver more action at this critical location. The critical issues are always about efficient cycling infrastructure that creates a safe environment for casual cyclists, commuters and pedestrians; creating a tourist node is interesting, but at the expense of sustainable transport.
Chief among these is the final release of the Perth Bicycle Network Plan review. Now nearly four years late. While the government prevaricate on a document already written, the face of our capital city is changing. The Northbridge City Link and the Waterfront project are going to severely impact on cycling access across the city. The Arena project has already disrupted the Perth Fremantle PSP, we are still waiting on the replacement infrastructure that will return safe efficient and pleasant cycling back to the CBD. City of Perth dropped the ball with their $11m St Georges Terrace Project failing to include cycling facilities.
The Board have been particularly busy taking on roles that their particular skills are well-suited to. Some changes occurred since the AGM and two board members resigned, the workload was redistributed among the remaining members and I believe they acquitted themselves very well over the year. I thank them for their support and hard work throughout the year.
Finally my thanks go to Heinrich Benz, who has been a stalwart advocate for utility cycling for Perth and WA. His long hours and tireless work are why BTA is regarded by stakeholders and the general community as the peak cycling advocacy organisation for WA. His unique style of communicating with a range of people and groups gets the cycling message across in a strong way.
The challenges of 2011 are able to be met by a rejuvenated BTA into the future. Of particular priority is the Westcycle NGO. The future for utility cycling is closely aligned to the success of this organisation.
(Minutes to follow)