Spokes Canterbury are your local cycling advocacy organisation and it’s that time of the year when they hold their Annual General Meeting. This year, with local body elections looming and current talk of cycleways, a number of sitting City Councillors have been invited along to give their thoughts on cycling developments in Christchurch over the next few years.
So what do Spokes do? No end of things; you have them to thank for a number of ongoing improvements to cycling in the greater Chch area, both at the broad strategic level and at individual sites. Some of the typical activities that Spokesters get involved with include:
- Making submissions (in writing and in person) to City Council and other organisations regarding proposed projects and strategies.
- Meeting with organisations (e.g. CCC, NZTA, AA, SCIRT) to discuss cycling-related issues with them and to provide technical advice.
- Representing cycling interests on various committees, e.g. Chch Road Safety Forum, ECan Passenger Transport Advisory Group.
- Helping to promote and volunteer at various cycling-related events, e.g. bike-to-work breakfasts, ICECycle workshops, recreational rides.
- Responding to media regarding cycling-relevant issues in Christchurch.
- Letting the wider Spokes membership know about what’s happening cycling-wise via their website and monthly newsletter.
It’s free to join Spokes (and to sign up for their monthly newsletter or follow their Facebook page). If you wish to financially support cycling provision both in Canterbury and NZ, you can join their parent organisation, the Cycling Advocates Network (CAN) – a portion of CAN subscriptions from local members comes back to Spokes to help them carry out activities locally.
Even better is if you want to help volunteer some of your time doing little tasks for Spokes. Perhaps you are good at writing things like media releases, newsletters or (heaven forbid) submissions? Are you the person who always knows just what to do to organise events? Maybe you understand this “interweb” stuff and can help look after websites, Facebook and the like? Or (most importantly) do you simply have spare time on your hands and are keen to pick things up from others? If so, you might want to think about chatting to a Spokes Core group member and coming along to one of the monthly meetings.
We know that the formal part of AGMs can be a bit dry, so Spokes has traditionally had some interesting guest speakers along to liven up proceedings. Last year, CERA boss Roger Sutton entertained everyone; previous guest speakers include Mayor Bob Parker, Prof Simon Kingham from Canterbury Uni, and various City Council staff.
This year Spokes have invited a number of current City Councillors to come along and respond to questions about the city’s redevelopment from a cycling perspective. So far Crs Sue Wells and Glenn Livingstone are confirmed and a few more are yet to confirm (unfortunately colourful cycling champion Cr Aaron Keown can’t make the evening). The idea is to pose a series of questions to all on the panel and get their feedback.
Here’s where your help is needed to identify some good, searching questions of the panellists. What would you most like to ask them about cycling in Chch: How much do they cycle? What’s their vision for cycling here in 5/10/20 years time? Why should we have a $20 cycleway “tax”? Something else? Send your ideas for questions to Spokes Chair Clare Simpson by Wed May 22nd at the latest for consideration.
The AGM and Panel Discussion is on Wed 29th May, from 5.30pm at CPIT’s Whare Kai in Coventry St. Following the (brief) AGM formalities (reports, election of officers, etc), the panel discussion will be held, followed by an opportunity to chat further with Councillors and other Spokesters over a few nibbles – all up should be done in under two hours. See you there!
What would you most like to ask your City Councillors about cycling in Chch?