Proposed Total Cut to Council Bike Budget for 2013/14- sign the petition

Please sign this petition at http://www.communityrun.org/petitions/maintain-the-funding-for-the-...

Liberal Councillor John Jobling has proposed cutting the bike budget from $400,000 to zero for 2013/14 at a Council Budget meeting last Tuesday. Liberal and Labor councillors supported this. The proposal will need final approval at end of June at the ordinary Council meeting, when the overall Council budget is approved.

The Mayor, Darcy Byrne, justifies the cut because "they need the money for playgrounds and repairing streets". It so happens that the free 30 minute parking recently introduced will cost about the same in revenue foregone as the bike budget. This revenue could have gone into playgrounds and streets. The Federal Govt has given Leichhardt $190K for road repairs.

There are several worthwhile bike projects,  such as upgrading Whites Ck route and tree root removal on Hawthorne Canal, and a number of unfinished items in the Bike Plan, or routes that still need linking up or finishing. The Bike Plan needs a review too, after 7 years.

It is a retrograde step to totally cut funds, just when more and more people are riding bikes. The Liberals said at the last election they would maintain funds and were even advocating new bike paths in the Rozelle Goods Yard. There has been cross party support for the Bike Plan for the last 5 years and it will be a great pity if this changes.

Please write NOW to Mayor Byrne asking for reasonable funding for new bicycle works to be restored and for the Bike Plan to be reviewed, at dbyrne@lmc.nsw.gov.au. 

If you get a chance to speak to your ward councillor, please ask them to keep the bike budget.

The Council draft budget minutes are attached below, where the first item is slashing the bike budget. They say carryovers (items budgeted for in previous years, but works not completed) are likely to be  $500,000. We are asking to see the breakdown of these projects to see which are due for completion soon and which are really bogged down. 

Edit (June 3): Talked to the Mayor today. He did commit to continued support for bicycling and the Bike Plan and said he would support a review of it. He emphasized that there is around $500 K for the  carryover projects,  to be done in 2013/14. Some projects would be deferred or cancelled so the Review can be funded.  There will be another meeting, with staff and BAC Chair and members, on Thursday, to see what projects might get done this year and talk about the proposed bike plan review. Hopefully some new projects might get added, at least for the planning stages, such as an upgrade for Whites Lane route, crossings of Johnston St, Bay Run improvements, Hawthorne Canal, Darling St, etc.

June 11. Mayor issued a Media Release today claiming $600K is being spent this year, but omitting the fact that this is carryover funding and that no NEW funding is involved. List of items for funding does not include the bike plan review and is at variance with what council officers told us last Thursday, where Catherine St Bridge works were to be postponed until an RMS grant could be obtained. No guarantee of any new funding for 2014/15 either.

Clearly, if the free parking scheme had not been introduced the Mayor might have been able to announce $1 M was going to be spent on bicycles in 2013/14. That would have been worthy of a Media Release.

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Have over 120 signatures, but need more. Please have a look and sign if you havent already. Will be talking to the Mayor next week and would like to have a lot of signatures to present to him.  Important to at least get his attention and see what he really thinks about cycling and the Bike Plan.

have over 400 sigs now. lot of support from all over. Be good to get a few comments from BL members here though, and please send a short message to leichhardt council about their draft budget, which is on public exhibition until 20 June.

All you need to do is email leichhardt@lmc.nsw.gov.au (and add in the mayor at dbyrne@lmc.nsw.gov.au) with Subject: Draft Budget 2013/14,  Message: Please don't cut  the $400,000 bike budget, with a short comment or submission as well if you want to.

Looking at presenting the petition to the Mayor before or at the Council meeting on 24 June if we can get a crowd!  Bike ride down Norton maybe.

Looking for 500 signatures! Please add yours. Mayor still saying there is $500K for bicycles this year,  despite the figures in table 2, and accusing us of lying (on his twitter account). We only want the figures clarified. I dont believe the Council knows the exact carryover figures, and why should the fact that there is a carryover matter? Lots of other council expenditure is carried over for various reasons. Council should draw up a list of works for 2013/4 and see if it can fund some or all of them, even some would be better than none.

Almost 500 signatures to date, from residents all round the Inner West who use bicycles for commuting, shopping or recreation. The comments are great, thank you everyone.

Council is insisting there will be plenty of carryover funding to spend this coming financial year, but I ask: why not also continue with the bike budget? So many things still to do, and by allocating an ongoing budget to spend Council can better plan what it is going to do, get matching grants, and so on.

Mayor has accused me of spinning, but a budget cut is a budget cut in my book, and sends the wrong signal on Councils intention re the bike plan. What guarantee they won't do the same next year?

579 signatures, can we get 600?

Mayor still spinning away, claiming now that the 400K is being taken away from the carryovers, when it is quite clearly a proposed budget cut for 2013/14. Carryover projects are mainly continuing, although he obviously hasnt spoken to staff on this, because they came up with a different list.

He is also claiming he had to act because council was letting funds sit idly by. This is not correct, as the council spent about $700 K in the previous year, and he is happy to let the $600 K carryovers go ahead, so must think Council can manage to complete those.

All this could have been avoided by talking to the BAC in May or earlier. I am sure members would have found ways to help and reprioritise. Instead he was busy wheeling and dealing with the Liberals to see what he could cut from the budget- bike works and green initiatives strangely enough.

Have over 600 sigs now, as more people hear about the Mayors rather overblown "support" for bicycles. I take him at his word that funding will be reinstated for 14/15 fin year, but wonder how that can be guaranteed, as it will take a council vote, not just his.
Letter published in today's Innerwestcourier can be viewed on the digital edition (p 18)
http://newslocal.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/iphone/homepage.aspx#_t...

some comments from the petition 

"Wherever we live in Australia, we need to send a clear voice to government that their short-term decisions have long term effects. Think about the impact 3 generations into the future"

"I cycle round Balmain and Leichhardt a lot. Cycling is community and environment friendly and we need to make cycling around Leichhardt and Balmain safer and more enjoyable for all of us. It's the future."

"cycling is the best way to get around the inner west"

"Crazy to offer free 30 mins parking to encourage us to drive up to the high street and park at the same time as cutting cycling project funding which would encourage us to cycle and thereby reduce the need for parking!!!"

"I cycle around Leichhardt Council area, spend money in local cafes, visit art galleries with friends on bicycles. For young & old! One less car!"

Article in Inner West Independent sums it up
http://www.altmedia.net.au/wheels-fall-off-bike-plan/78218

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