As 2017 draws to a close, it is clear that CRT is focussed on its grant renewal, which will require it to demonstrate to Government that it has widespread popular support. This means promoting the waterways to millions of walkers, cyclists, canoeists and gongoozlers as part of its wellbeing or ‘green gym’ campaign. The 35,000 boaters are incidental to this. As a result, NABO is becoming increasingly concerned that its voice is not being listened to by senior CRT managers and directors. We are no longer a ‘critical friend’; just critical. Members who attended the AGM in November discussed the long list of recent decisions by CRT that have disregarded the advice offered by NABO (and CRT’s National Advisory Groups), and Fly on the Wall recorded some of these for this issue. There is also an article by Jenny Maxwell, reprinted from a Facebook forum, which sums up the frustrations felt by a large number of boaters and boating organisations. We will wait to see if the recent restructuring of senior CRT staff makes any difference. But let’s not hold our breath ‒ none has boating experience and, with the replacement of Trustee, John Dodwell, this means that there are now no boaters on the CRT Board. The EA doesn’t fare any better: having consulted on proposed increases to boat registration fees, it ignored the consultation findings and went ahead with the original proposals for steep hikes in the costs. A diligent boater has also found that EA’s introduction of charges for mooring on the Thames is illegal.
As another year ends and Christmas approaches, the summer boaters are busy winterising their boats, liveaboards are eyeing places to get free wood and ensuring that they have organised a coal delivery from their local coal-boat. We are lucky to have fortnightly coal-boat runs; please support your coal-boats – they are the lifeblood of the canals in winter.
The winter mooring season has begun and those who don’t have a home mooring can take advantage of these, although I have to say I haven’t noticed a big uptake in our area. Where they do seem popular, I notice they are priced accordingly.
My treatment has prevented me from travelling too much and I must arrange things around it. We are still trying to get a haemodialysis machine on our boat; we seem to be caught up in the inevitable red tape that surrounds such things, but we are still hoping to get there.
Following recent changes to its Executive team, the Canal & River Trust yesterday (6th December 2017) began a 60-day period of internal consultation about changes to its internal structures and a significant reduction in the size of its senior management team.