October 19, 2012 (Vancouver, BC) – I have had a chance to review the open letter from Mr. Lyster and I would like to share some comments, without prejudice. First up I feel it is important to note that none of the communications I have read in the public sphere are complete. – read Barry Lyster’s Open Letter to Cycling BC here.
This is not meant to be overly critical of those who care enough to put their views on paper as the fact that they care ought to be applauded.
However I feel that we do a tremendous disservice to our sport when we mask opinion as fact and argue for particular positions. I feel that there is (in every case) at least 2 sides to every story and unfortunately most of the comments I have read have been predicated on only one side of the story.
One example is the interpretation given to the re-scheduling for the AGM. The postponement of the annual AGM was taken very seriously by the Board and not a position we had anticipated. We were informed by some members working behind the scenes that attendance was going to be over 200 people thus, if we had gone ahead with the meeting at the proposed venue we would have been forced to shut down as we would not be meeting fire code regulations.
The staff looked hard to find a suitable venue in the area and was not successful. The board was faced with no other option but to reschedule. Our bylaw states that we must hold a meeting outside the GVRD lower mainland every 5 years. The Board felt that being in a position of turning people away and having the meeting shut down was not acceptable. Most reasonable people would agree with that conclusion.
When one looks at the hostility of the letter, as Mr. Lyster refers to CBC as a regime, I find this very offensive not only to the rest of the Board and the staff but also to whole membership. I have witnessed dysfunctional boards in the past and CEO’s that have steered Cycling BC to near bankruptcy. Before the time of the current Board there were many years of uncertainty. For the last six years we have been operating with positive cash flows. Our financial status has never been better! This is primarily due to solid grant applications and new youth programs.
As for concerns with race events, I share these same concerns. I recognize the difficulties facing event organizers and I know firsthand what the issues are. I can attest that these problems are complex and involve organizers, municipalities, regional government, volunteers, and yes membership participation. I can validate my opinion as I am also a race organizer, and run a weekly race series throughout the summer. As well I ran a BC Championship and one BC-sanctioned race, a total of 26 races this year.
Some of the things leveled in the letter are beyond the scope of Cycling BC and I cannot respond to but when public attacks are made on race events you are inevitably hitting on the race organizer. We should be encouraging race organizers not discouraging them. I get lost with the message Mr. Lyster is trying to convey…
With respect to governance I have been a driving force for youth programs and junior initiatives. One of the problems viewed are dwindling numbers in our high performance sector. If we don’t model ourselves after other successful cycling unions we will not have much hope for sustainability for this sector. We need to be feeding youth through the system and we must have programming for them.
Cycling BC put 800 kids through cycling programs this year, the most successful youth initiatives to date. These are areas that we continue to build on as well as the continuance of recruiting and training more coaches to facilitate this area. I also believe in the proper governance of youth. Children need to be competing with children not adults, and I would challenge anyone to name a sport or PSO that authorizes open competitions between youth and adults. Much work is needed in this area but we are getting there.
In closing, I would point out that Mr. Lyster has never called me to ask about any programming nor has he taken the time to validate his information. As for suggesting that Cycling BC is ignoring the situation, I have no idea how this can be leveled as he has never spoken to me about this. It is my hope that as we move forward with more programs that we can have an open and sensible dialogue.
I welcome your feedback and look forward to your comments.
VP Road & Track Cycling BC
Todd Hansen has been involved with the sport for over 32 years, has competed on Provincial and National team projects, began coaching in 1987, runs learn-to-race programs (LTR’s), established one of the largest cycling clubs in BC, and has been an organizer for 12 years. I am a volunteer and receive no monies from CBC nor sponsorship donations. I am the current standing VP of Road and will be running for re-election.