7 January 2008

Brendan Smyth all Barred up about mountainbike championships

| johnboy
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Brendan Smyth (boy, do you have to be careful about his wikipedia entry) is normally at the front of the mob screaming for more money to be spent on ACT Tourism.

But it seems he’s not a fan of the 2009 World Mountain Bike Championships being spent here. He’s put out an angry media release that you can feel the flecks of spit coming off.

“”Where is the business case for this event, Mr Barr? Where is the cost/benefit analysis for this event, Mr Barr? What are the assumptions that have been used to prepare the evaluation of this event, Mr Barr? Has your Government prepared an evaluation of this event, Mr Barr?

“The Minister needs to provide details to the ACT community of what return is anticipated for the spending of $1 million of public funds.

“The Minister must provide an analysis of the expected return from this event on the investment of $7.5 million in the Stromlo Forest Park facility.

“The comments from the Minister for Tourism about the potential benefits of this event are long on rhetoric but are short on details.

“Mr Barr talks grandly about the mountain bike event providing a return on the Government’s investment in the Stromlo Forest Park but he has not provided any basis for this claim.”

Not normally known for his vitriol (in fact well known for keeping it in when he should let it out) we can only wonder if Brendan’s family were murdered by a rapacious mob of mountain bikers? Or perhaps has the funding been pulled over to this from another project Brendan’s heart was set on?

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It’s got something to do with being seen to provide the best return for use of public money, which can then be used for the betterment of the public.

Mr Stanhope et al understand the process. Whether they grasp the goal could be debated.

And the same is true of pretty much any governemnt you care to name, past, present or future.

Why is it that everything held in Canberra comes down to money – can’t we have events for the sheer enjoyment without worrying that the entire territory is going to make mega bucks out of it??

Finally (just so I can triple post), big thanks to Stanhope and Barr. I had an excellent weekend watching the nationals at Stromlo Forest Park, and yesterday I went for a ride at Stromlo and had one of the best MTB rides I have had in a long time. 🙂

Of the $7.5 million spent rebuilding Stromlo, a majority of that money went into building the new event centre and the infrastructure at the base of Stromlo, which is used by the MTBs, road cyclists, runners, horse riders and everyone else who wants to use it.

The mountain bike trails were built using about $300K of that money, most of which went into building and 4X track and the downhill track, which required lots of earthworks and heavy machinery. Most of the trails were completed by volunteers from CORC (Canberra Off-Road Cyclists), who are covered by the CORC insurance.

I can see Brendan Smyth is making a very poor attempt at political point scoring, which has now back fired on him. He has really lost my vote (and probably the entire cycling community) with this one. Where was he when the government promised the $1 million last year when we made the bid for the world champs? I’m sure if he looks at the attendance numbers for the nationals last weekend, the figures will scale up for the world champs and give a ACT Govt a very good return on their money – and not to mention the long term tourism benefits for Canberra (after the worlds in NZ last year I have been seriously looking at going to ride in Rotarua).

poptop> The stumps and cleaning up of the area was done by contractors with the appropriate machinery. All the volunteer hours were for the MTB track – basically it was just ‘polishing’ the trail with rakes and sometimes armouring the trail with rocks. In terms of injuring yourself, well when you enter stromlo forest park you’re basically liable for your own injury and death. Check out the site:


I don’t think the government “used” volunteers, from my understanding it was the MTB community that arranged that and they just volunteered, you know, for the love of the area, community and their sport. IMHO you shouldn’t need the governments permission to do a good deed (although I’ll admit views on what a good deed is can vary)

This thread is surely teaching me humility!

I must say I’m surprised at the Government use of volunteers to deal with stumps and trunks left over after the big post-bush-fire clean-up; I thought the public liability insurance made that approach difficult; or does the facility belong to some MBTer association?

Do we get to volunteer to help build the gaol too? It sounds like they could use some assistance . . .

What we need now is more accommodation facilities on the south-side to look after these flocks pushbikin’ maniacs.

I think Brendan is just pissed that the govt. has actually done something that is a *good* use of public funds (rather than a crazy-ass statue or new “improved” (?) signage in civic). Having to oppose some solid decision making in this town has driven him to anger.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – MTBers are lucky their sport needs mountains (none of which are built on in the ACT due to planning laws) and that it’s quiet (so the NIMBYs don’t get upset because it’s as loud as a life-saving helicopter).

Of course other facilities for other interests should be built (I wonder how the cotter re-furb is going after the fires & how much it cost?). MTBers are just lucky they were in the right place at the right time (oh, and that they put in all the effort to plan, lobby and build such a facility with stacks of volunteer hours).

“but can’t sort out a [ahe] world class facility for drag racing, SummerNats or V8s?” – What sort of a world class facility could you build for SummerNats? You people crack me up sometimes.

If we build a world-class dragway do you really think it could compete with Eastern Creek? (Considering the population density in Sydney and that Sydneysiders would prefer to drive 30 mins to the track rather than 2.5 hours?) I personally think if there was a world class mountain bike park in Sydney or Melbourne, Stromlo would be far less profitable than it promises to be.

(and kudos to all the volunteers who helped make it a reality, it can’t have been an easy job.)

A facility such as this one that encourages people to get out an exercise can’t be a bad thing, IMHO.

I don’t know about “sprung up overnight” – they have been running those volunteer working bees at Stromlo for ages.

Canberra won the 2009 world mountain biking championships because of campaigning from people like CORC, not by fluke.

I don’t know why there is all this bitching and moaning over a great facility with a lot of community support behind it (all those volunteers who donated their time didn’t appear from thin air). It’s good for Canberra and it’s great that we’re going to be known for something other than parliament house.

The Government did it. Therefore the opposition opposes. Doesn’t matter whether its good or bad.
At least that’s how a stupid opposition operates.

Poor old Mr Smyth just doesn’t understand that MTB is a participation sport. It’s not about the bikes or winning, it’s about going for a ride and having fun with your mates. Also, the 7.5 million dollars was not all spent on the MTB trails!!! A lot of the money was spent cleaning the area up – as Stromlo is a Pine Forest, when it gets burnt it doesn’t regenerate. So you’re left with a whole bunch of useless stumps and trunks. The area also caters to horse riders with equestrian trails; road cyclists with the criterium circuit; Cross Country runners with a running track.

If you pick up any Australian MTB mag (just have a sneek when you’re next at the News Agency) you’ll find something about the Nationals that were just held and something if not a feature on Mt Stromlo. It’s been on the tip of the nation’s MTB community’s tounge for the last 6 months. Unlike the V8’s the Park is always there. Unlike the V8’s there are hundreds of thousands of people who can use the facility instead of a coming once a year to spectate. Other MTB parks in the USA, NZ and here in Vic/Tas have shown that they do attract tourists year round. Hence, the MTB park was not built with the sole goal of winning the nationals or winning the UCI world cup. In addition to replacing what existed pre-2001 and 2003 fires it only adds to Canberra’s other riding areas to make the ACT, the ‘must ride’ destination in Australia. When people come here, they’ll want to stay at least a night (there’s Stromlo, Majura, Sparrow Hill, Tuggeranong Pines and Kown Forest to ride). Hence, the MTB park component of the Stromlo Park will attract tourist dollars year round. With the nationals and the World’s now in Canberra, this will only help the park’s popularity.

I used be a Cancon Fan before Warhammer and Magic swept into view; but I stand corrected.

Other than the Sacred Floriade, events in Canberra a boys and things with wheels or boys indulging in various forms of imaginary war and mayhem, while living on fizzy drinks, chocolate and chips.

But the POINT is: Cancon doesn’t get it’s own special Government-funded world-class facility either. Ditto paintball facilities.

Cancon also has to pay it’s own way – I’ve been at the end of a blast from the president (on account of it being cancon he’s actually termed the el-presidente). Apparently, they actually put a lot into the event and it turns quite a flow of cash, although the roleplayers tend to ruin the event because their activities are not very good time/cash models, and they are a bunch of whingers, all crying for individually cordonned off sections to ensure privacy or something.


I worked with him, I’m not a Cancon Fan myself.

Cancon generates excellent sales for soft drink manufacturers and cadbury, I know that for a fact.

Hey, Cancon doesn’t have wheeled things!

The UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships, held recently in Rotorua, had an economic impact of $33.5 million.

Studies undertaken by Market Economics and Waiariki Institute of Technology show that the Championships generated $12.2m in direct new spend in Rotorua that would not have occurred otherwise. At a national level an additional $17.7m was attributed to the UCI MTB World Champs. Once the flow on effects are assessed total value added increases to $12.4m within the region while the contribution to GDP rises to $21.1m nationally.

The Waiariki Institute study estimated that visitors to the World Championships spent $2,712,533 per day in Rotorua and this did not include the spend by the competitors and those directly involved in the event.

Sounds OK to me

some AIS boys will be quite happy with the champs being here.

Looks like all the major tourists events for Canberra (other than the Sacred Floriade) are boys with wheeled things. How is it the government can pop up a bike thingie overnight and get the world racing in to use it, but can’t sort out a [ahe] world class facility for drag racing, SummerNats or V8s?

It is a puzzlement.

When Brendan was in government, what was that V8 Supercar thingy they were spruiking????? All sounds a bit hypocritical.

(I did support the V8s here, and we should’ve kept it in my opinion, but changed it to a later date where the climate was more favourable)

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