The NABO AGM will be held at on Saturday 18th November at the Tamworth CC Club, Kettlebrook Wharf, Kettlebrook Rd Tamworth B77 1AG (by boat it is on the Coventry Canal, just up from Fazeley Junction).
We will start at 11 am with the AGM formal business, followed by a presentation and discussion. After a light lunch, there will be a meeting of the new Council, to which NABO members are welcome.
Please let us know if you are coming so that we can plan the catering. We will run a zoom link for the AGM.
We still need your help. The Council meets around seven times per year and the work is rewarding and interesting … and occasionally frustrating. You'll learn what goes on behind the scenes and make new friends into the bargain. If you feel you might be out of your depth, worry not; one of us will act as your mentor to help you with the few formalities. Don't be shy! It is too late for nomination at the AGM now, but don't let that put you off. We cannot continue to be effective without the new input of active members - like you.
What a time to be involved with NABO! Your Council has always been very careful only to take on activities that will have a direct impact on our boaters – who, of course, are the very reason we exist. But when we DO take on a new mission, it needs to be something where – as a professionally led body – we can make a real difference. Seldom have there been so many issues requiring our attention as now. Fortunately we have the benefit of an enthusiastic and highly motivated Council.
As I highlighted in my last Chair’s report, your Council quite correctly made the decision that there is currently no point in continually nagging CRT about the things that we feel they are not doing well. On the contrary, with a government that is clearly determined to reduce the funding for the waterways, the best thing we can do is to accept that there is now no alternative to CRT, and that reverting to the good?/bad? days of the British Waterways Board being part of government is just not feasible. Therefore, the best thing we can do right now is to bring as much pressure as we can on government to ensure, at the very least, adequate funding of all the waterways. (CRT still, at the time of writing, isn’t yet officially aware of its situation, but the EA and Scottish waterways have already had massive cuts.)
As the scent of honeysuckle wafts through an open window and is subsequently overpowered by the inimitable odour of barbecue from a neighbour, I realise summer has indeed arrived.
I have received over 50 notices of works and other stoppages in the last week, the presentation of the notices is not great. The headline information, for example ‘Navigation closure notice: Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Navigation: Closed, Towpath: Open’ then on opening the email, ‘The bridge has been repaired and navigation traffic can resume.’ I’m sure it saves a few seconds although it wouldn’t take much to preface the notice headline with ‘Amendment’ or ‘Navigation reopened’.
As we travel around the network I have heard from many people on its perceived state, how it used to be better etc. As a boater for over 30 years, I’m not sure that memory is the best or most accurate way of recording the works required or indeed of the repairs achieved. Stourbridge only re-opened on the 27th May 1967 after a battle with British Waterways in 1962 who wanted to close it, the Kennet & Avon Canal only reopened in 1990 and the Droitwich canal in 2011. Three good examples of improvements in the network that perhaps get forgotten.
The Fund Britain's Waterways petition is now LIVE and visible - please add your signatures and circulate far and wide. Let's deliver a hefty pile of pages to 10 Downing Street this Autumn.
Also, please download, print and proudly display a window sticker, which you can find here in colour and black-and-white. Whether you are afloat or on dry land, these will send out a striking message.
Many thanks again for your input and support,
Member of FBW Steering Group
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