A restructuring of the city’s bureaucracy is supposed to make it a more citizen-focused organization, but cycling proponents say they’ve been lost in the shuffle.
Cycling safety programs area being advertised in the city’s spring recreation guide, but due poor funding and a couple rounds of layoffs, nobody is left running them.
In the city’s restructuring, Wilf Koppert, the program manager responsible for the program, was laid off. Koppert’s manager was moved to new department and the two supervisors above him were laid off before last year.
“The whole cycling project is up in the air. We don’t know where it’s going to land, but things are not looking good for the first year of the cycling plan,” said Charles Akben-Marchand with Citizens for Safe Cycling.
Until 2006, Citizens for Safe Cycling was running two cycling programs that were funded by the city for around $82,000. In 2007, the city dropped that funding to $50,000 for education, but that was dropped during the budget.
EnviroCentre eventually picked up a $30,000 contract run cycling programs until 2008.
Earlier this year, the city sent out a request for proposals to run cycling programs, but neither group put up a bid because there was just not enough funding.
“The total budget for this year to do all sorts of stuff like CanBike, like active and safe routes to school, all the things to reduce the use of single-occupancy vehicles, is $50,000. That’s it,” said Dana Silk, the general manager of EnviroCentre. “It’s appalling.”
Bay Ward Coun. Alex Cullen said he is concerned that the city is dropping the ball on support cycling programs.
“We do have a cycling plan and we have a lot of people who are interested in this, but where is the city?” he said.