BUG Amalgamations

BUG Amalgamations

Council amalgamations in 1993-4 had led to a lot of BUGs trying to amalgamate to the new municipal boundaries, and many did not survive the transition. The very active Northcote BUG joined with the Preston BUG and - in a story repeated many times around Melbourne - the very different styles of the two BUGs resulted in the decline and disappearance of the merged BUG. The present Darebin BUG is a separate, later creation.

As well, Bicycle Victoria's support of the Grand Prix at Albert Park led to resignations of many key BUG members, particularly in that area but also across Victoria. The support extended to running the Great Melbourne Bike Ride around the circuit before the first Grand Prix, thus granting the circuit a legitimacy it did not have in the community - particularly the BUG community. Many of the key members of Save Albert Park were key members of the local BUGs that collapsed from the mass resignations.

That coincided roughly with Bicycle Victoria's withdrawal of most of its former resourcing of BUGs as well.

BrunsBUG survived and remained active under the guise of a BUG although there was no formal structure to the organisation.

In part it survived because it didn't merge with Cobug BUG (until very much later), and partly due to the very good link that it had to Moreland Council through Nick Elliot as Bicycle Coordinator (and subsequent related titles).

BrunsBUG being the sole surviving BUG of the original collaboration, the Bikeshed came to be seen as "belonging" to BrunsBUG. This was a helpful model when the Bikeshed was operated largely by one Coordinator, and when almost all BrunsBUG members signed up through working at the Bikeshed. There was a committee at that stage, but it was self-appointed.

From about 1998, the Bikeshed Committee was elected annually by the general membership of BrunsBUG. Its makeup and powers were defined more clearly than before.

The Bikeshed committee operated under the convenient fiction that it is a sub-committee of BrunsBUG. The pretext was useful in asking BrunsBUG membership as a condition for working at the Bikeshed. The Bikeshed needs to set a threshold commitment for people wanting to work there, but we didn't want to set up a competing membership base.

However the subcommittee fiction became a liability with the resurgence of BrunsBUG around 2002 and an influx of new members. BrunsBUG still had no committee and decisions continued to be made by a vote of any general members who attended each monthly meeting.

Few of the new members  knew much about the Bikeshed, yet seemingly had the ability to determine Bikeshed policy. Several appeared keen to push it towards operating as a charity.

It became important to clarify the position. As the Bikeshed committee was directly elected at an Annual General Meeting, it was not sub-committee. Either it was actually the main committee of BrunsBUG, and should be determining BrunsBUG policy, or the Bikeshed was independent of BrunsBUG (although with a shared membership base at the time). The latter became the negotiated position.