[CAMWEST-discuss] Reform Bicycle NSW

Rob Kemp robkemp at tpg.com.au
Sun Jul 9 07:48:22 UTC 2006

Hi John (and Ian).
 Here are a few of my thoughts on the ideas put forward.  See comments 
under the applicable dot points.

>  ? To increase Bicycle NSW s commitment to and involvement with its 
> members,
>    we suggest that positions on its Board be 'elected by lot' , 
> specifically
>    to liaise with and promote BUGs throughout NSW. (please note: 
> 'elected by
>    lot' means random selection from membership list.)

I'm not sure what purpose this would fulfill at present.  As far as I 
know, for the last few years they've either been short or just managed 
to scrape together numbers for the Board.  You could argue (and I would 
agree) that there hasn't been a push to advertise the vacancies to the 
wider BNSW membership in the recent past.  However, from my point of 
view, this has finally been addressed at least to some extent by Robert 
Hamilton's 'From the President' column and another small paragraph in 
the latest Push On.  I think that anyone who has the time, inclination & 
committment to be involved on the Board already has ample opportunity to 
pursue these aims.  Put another way, I think the pool of members that 
you're talking about that may be interested in 'ticking the box' to say 
they'd be interested in taking part in the 'election by lot' would be 
extremely small.
I guess a more basic question that needs to be asked is why do you think 
the 'elected by lot' idea should be considered?  Is it because you think 
the current Board members are out of touch with cyclists in general, or 
you feel that there's a lack of communication from them to the general 
membership?  Other reasons?  How would you see an 'election by lot' 
addressing the issues?

>  ? Some weeks prior to the AGM there be a special boxed section of 
> Push On
>    outlining the main purposes and issues to be taken up at the AGM.
>  ? The AGM to occur during the last half day of a two-day BUGs workshop
>    dealing with
>      (a) BUG purposes and activities, (b) BUG governance, and (c) BNSW
> governance.

The first AGM I attended several years took place directly after a BUGs 
workshop.  From memory it was a one day workshop, held in the old 
Castlereight St office of BNSW.  The thing that struck me at the time 
was just about the complete turn-over of participants between the two 
events.  There were only a handful of people who were present for both 
the BUGs workshop and the AGM.  Having attended a couple of the weekend 
BUG workshops, I think it is quite a challenge to get a reasonable 
number of the appropriate people together for that length of time - even 
in Sydney.   Many people's weekends are just so busy.

>  ? The BUG workshop be organised and hosted by one of the larger/more
>    successful BUGs at no substantial cost to Bicycle NSW as an 
> organisation.
>    So, for example, if Bathurst BADBUG or Bicycle Wagga Wagga or Northern
>    Rivers Cycling Club or NAMBUG or BUG LE BUG (Leeton) or Cootamundra 
>    hosts the workshop, then they would provide the appropriate 
> facilities for
>    the AGM also.
While great in theory, I can't see this working from a practical point 
of view (but would love to be proved wrong).  A few issues that 
immediatley come to mind include:
- As mentioned above, the time issue.  It's challenging enough getting 
people together in Sydney, where the majority of members are supposed to 
reside, let alone adding 2 - 6+ hours of travel in each direction.  (One 
of your suggestuons was Wagga.  I used to often drive to Wagga for work, 
and had to allow the best part of a full day's travel each way.  
Suddenly, for anyone coming from Sydney or further north, the 2 day 
meeting has turned into 4 days....)  In theory, the best place to have a 
meeting would maybe be around the Bathurst area (heading towards the 
centre of the state, but close enough to the main population centres so 
that travel for the majority of people is not too onerous).
- Contradiciting (or at least modifying) the last point, some members do 
not own or want to drive cars unnecessarily - myself included.  If you 
were looking at incorporating a morning ride or similar into the program 
(as has been done on previous BUG workshops that I've attended), it may 
be prudent to choose a location which you can get a bike to easily on 
public transport.  As you may be aware, once beyond the inter-city rail 
network of Bomaderry (Nowra), Goulburn, Lithgow and the Hunter Valley, 
trains are fairly infrequent, and you need to box bikes up in order to 
get them on.  Then there's generally and there's generally a limit of a 
few boxed bikes per train.  This would rule Bathurst out.  Therefore, 
I'd think you'd have to be looking at locations like Newcastle, Lithgow, 
Blue Mountains, Moss Vale, Goulburn Wollongong, Kiama or Nowra.  The 
Shoalhaven BUG hosted a successful weekend workshop in Nowra a few years 
back.  The Goulburn BUG (GADBUG) is fairly small.  I think a number of 
the other BUGs in these areas are too.  Maybe Newcastle (If NCM wanted to)?
- I've noticed that some people from inner suburban areas are less 
inclined to travel distances for short periods of time than those from 
outer suburbs or rural areas.  This may impact on the number of people 
that are willing to attend.  (A non-cycling related example of this idea 
was when someone made a comment to me that  I'd come a long way from my 
place in Rooty Hill to theirs in Manly.  In contrast, I was thinking 
that Manly wan't too far away from Rooty Hill).
- Like Bob, I'm not sure how any local BUGs would fund such an event.
- What would be your aim in holding the AGM outside of Sydney?  To 
attract non-Sydney board members?  A few years back one of the Goulburn 
BUG members was on the Board (and President).  I know that he became 
quite disallusioned with the travel to Sydney required.   If the 
meetings had been held closer to Goulburn, then the remaining 
Sydney-based participants would all have had to travel..

I guess what I'm getting at is that while BNSW might be Sydney-centric, 
realistically I can't see many Board members choosing to travel over 
vast distances to attend meetings.  I guess there may be some scope  for 
using  electronic communication means for meetings in the future.  With 
the rollout of  higher speed internet services into rural areas, there 
may be possibilites of incorporating lower cost VoIP   conference calls  
into some or all of the meetings. This would require inital purchase of 
equipment though, unless participants already had access to it.

> The effect of such changes to the present operation of Bicycle NSW 
> would be to
> shift emphasis towards the role of BUGs vis- -vis the central support
> organisation (Bicycle NSW). It would also, we hope, tend to provide a 
> balance
> to the traditional Sydney-centric operation of Bicycle NSW. We think 
> it would
> certainly lead to productive ideas for BUGs to share and could even 
> make the
> AGM fun!
> Ian Macindoe
> Cyclists  Action Movement WEST
> Bicycle NSW   Life Member
> imacian at bigpond.net.au
> Bike South West Bussies on bikes
> john kyriazis ioannis_zis at yahoo.com
> ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? 
> Open multiple messages at once with the all new Yahoo! Mail Beta.
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www.robkemp.id.au   - Trying to live more sustainably

Ph (h) 9864 8797  (w) 9296 1561 

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