Monday, June 13, 2011

Important Message About Tonights City Council Meeting

Here is a message sent to me today regarding cycling in my city. If you know people in the region please urge them to attend. Thanks

Dear fellow cyclists,

Please consider attending the Kitchener City Council meeting tonight, Monday evening, June 13. Your presence could easily be the difference between success and failure regarding cycling development in the city for the foreseeable future.

The City of Kitchener's Cycling Advisory Committee will make a brief but important presentation to this meeting of City Council. The point of the presentation traces back to Council's last-minute decision to cut the cycling funds that had been called for in its new Cycling Master Plan (passed in August 2010). Of course, with neither staffing nor discretionary funding, the Cycling Master Plan is largely reduced to words on a page rather than an action plan for developing Kitchener into a cycling-friendly city.

When news of this slashed funding got out in February and March, many cyclists and non-cyclists alike contacted Council members to let them know of their unhappiness with the decision. The Cycling Advisory Committee also urged councilors to fix the situation at the earliest opportunity. As a result of these efforts, councilors have now approved in committee the hiring of a permanent half-time staff person to act as Cycling Coordinator for the city.

This is a crucial part of implementing the Cycling Master Plan. If it's nobody's job in particular to see that cycling development is maintained, it just won't happen. So getting the staff in place, while only part of the battle, is a very important part of the battle.

But the staffing decision has not yet been formally approved by Council, and recent events have proved that a last-minute change of heart or loss of commitment cannot be ruled out. With this in mind, I urge you to attend the meeting and bring your cycling helmet with you. The City of Kitchener Cycling Advisory Committee will be one of several delegations to speak, so arriving for 8 pm is probably safe. It should take little more than an hour of your time; but your support may have positive effects for local cycling that last for decades.

Thanks for your time,

Brent Ellis
Waterloo Cycling Club
Tim Kenyon
City of Kitchener Cycling Advisory Committee

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