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Victor: Most impressed
Sunday, 27 November 2016 07:20

Boater David Davis was most impressed with the way the National Trust looks after the Wey Navigation, telling that all the locks worked well, the channel had a good depth with nothing caught on his boat's stern gear.

Even the vegetation was well managed and disposal points clean and tidy, with signage boards giving a lengthsman's—yes a lengthman!—monthly informative newsletter' at each lock.


Compare that with the state of 'our' waterways. Many locks in a terrible state of repair, undredged canals, overgrown vegetation and overflowing rubbish bins, and the only information on notice boards is telling us how wonderful  Cart is doing,

Bad decision

Yet here we have the Great Ouse Boating Association hell-bent in getting Cart to take over its waterways from the Environment Agency, notwithstanding that it is making one hell of a mess of even looking after its own. There has been stoppage after stoppage during the boating season and the condition of the infrastructure is the worst I have known in over 20 years.

I reckon the association should show a bit of sense for once and plumb for the National Trust to take over its waterways—it seems better at it.

Cheaper to repair

No doubt most of you will have read Kenneth Churchill's chilling report of how he was treated by Cart after his boat hung-up in the dreaded Lock 40 of the Bank Newton Flight of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

I can tell you it cost Cart over £500,000 in litigation and expenses, it going to extreme lengths to attempt to wriggle out out of responsibility, dragging it on for four years, but to no avail, as it was in the wrong and so lost.

I would have thought it much cheaper to simply get rid of those dangerous protrusions...

Don't share

It is admitted that since 2007 there have been 15 wall hang-ups on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, caused when two boats lock together and one get caught on a protrusion.

I would suggest that saving water notwithstanding, you put your own safety first and do not share—especially on the Bank Newton flight.

Up in arms

I see the anglers are up in arms again as someone is 'stealing' their fish to eat out of the Lee Navigation.

Most likely this is by people from abroad, where it is legal.  After all, fish are obviously a source of food, and I well remember way, way back when my father often brought back fish that he had caught for a meal.

Alas, the law was changed so that the anglers can catch them and throw them back—again and again.

Locks are dangerous

So yet again we get demands for Cart to erect signs at its locks telling that they are dangerous and that children should not jump in them.

Okay, so it is from a distraught mother who has lost her son after he jumped into a lock on the Rochdale Canal, it was told to conquer his fear of water, and we can but only guess at her feelings at losing a son so young, but it is hardly the fault of not having a sign.

A deep lock, full of water is obviously dangerous, and seeing the number of children swimming in locks, they obviously disregard such danger, and a sign would be of no use whatsoever.

It still all boils down to the fact that people—children and teenagers included—must be responsible for their own safety.

Where your money goes

Of the many thousands of charities throughout the country, would you believe that Canal & River Trust holds the seventh position for the most paid executives?

Of course you will! For there is no wage freeze here, and in fact its executives even had a very nice increase from a  total of £58.6m last financial year to a—thank-you very much—£64.7m this 'year'!

There were 72 of these raking in above £60,000—that's over £1,150 a week! And contributions from Cart to their their pension scheme leaped from £28,000 to an eye watering £93,000 this year.

For the 1,588 lesser mortals, it worked out at an average of £41,000 quid a year, plus of course an handy pensions scheme.

​At the top, boss-man Richard Parry gets £188,600; but that's not all, with other benefits of £11,015—don't ask!

Then there are 16 executives between £220,000 and £100,000

There are eight lesser executives between £100,000 and £90,000. 23 raking in between £90,000 and £70,000. 35 'key' managers getting between £70,000 and £60,000.

All of course plus 'benefits'.

Now we know

A question that has been asked time and time again, especially by boaters—why isn't there the money to spend on maintenance?

So now we know!

Victor Swift

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