A report from boaters rep, Dave Mendes de Costa.
Yesterday the boater representatives on the CRT Council met with Matthew Symmonds (National Boating Manager). Many thanks to everyone who sent me their thoughts. As expected, the main area of discussion was around Covid-19. The tone was positive, there seems to be a desire to support people, but through individual arrangements rather than blanket measures. So the main message is: If you need support, contact CRT immediately on 0303 040 4040.
- If anyone is having problems with the payment of licence or mooring fees, then get in touch with CRT and they can help work out a way to potentially defer or delay payments. Several of us pushed that CRT should follow whatever government policy is put in place for private rent.
- If you are self-isolating or are in the ‘at risk’ category, then contact CRT to arrange an overstay. They understand people may need to stay close to roads, supplies and support groups.
- If you are supporting another boater who is self-isolating and cannot move, then get in touch with CRT to let them know.
- If you are self-isolating and are worried that you don’t have a support network, then CRT are using their local rangers and licence officers to help support you. Get in touch with your local team so they can assist you.
- CRT has looked to contact all elderly or vulnerable boaters using information they have. If you’ve not been contacted and feel you need support, then let them know.
- Finally, if you are operating a local support group for boaters, then let CRT know as they may be able to help link up boaters needing support with others offering it.
There was understanding that canal-based businesses (including roving traders) will be struggling. CRT is operating on the basis that the navigation will stay open (however, many festivals are being cancelled). As with the points above, if you need support from CRT then get in touch with them (e.g. there may be ways to change business licences to leisure licences to save costs).
I appreciate there is a lot of ‘let CRT know’ in the messages above, rather than proactive blanket measures. I think that, for now, this is reasonable. We have to meet them halfway by contacting them … only then will we see how far they are willing to help.
If you have contacted CRT and are not getting anywhere, then let me know. I can’t promise to be able to fix individual issues but, if there’s a pattern, then we can build a case for CRT to act differently.
Keep safe and well, and supporting one another.