What are we paying for?

Published: Monday, 16 July 2018

I NEED to ask what is it that boaters are paying Canal & River Trust for? Queries John Coxon.

Now we have the Leeds & Liverpool, Peak Forest, Shroppie Middlewich branch, Wyrley & Essington, Trent & Mersey and Grand Union canals all closed in parts 'until further notice'.

Not be able to get back

So, I hope no one is planning to go to Manchester or Liverpool in the near future, even if you get there you might not be able to get back.

Breaches, water shortage, broken pumps and locks all contributing to a complete and utter shambles brought about by CaRTs total mismanagement of the system. Yes—total lack of maintenance and aforethought required to run such a large organisation.

Money found for these

New logos, new signs, new cycle paths, new directors, complete with support teams—oh yes money can be found for these but ask for new or water-tight lock gates and all boaters get are excuses and even the blame for the 'damage'.

No rain so this means no water so CaRT ask all boaters to save water, the gates leak so much that boaters actions can have virtually no influence on the water levels at all. Even CaRTs own volunteers don't help like those at Hillmorton only allowing boats through a lock in one direction therefore wasting a lock full of water each time without a boat in it, is that crazy or what?

Never ran dry

If BW/CaRT hadn't sold all the reservoirs there would be enough 'reserve' water to allow the canals to keep going, they never ran dry in the hot summers of the industrial revolution because the reservoirs were there to keep them topped up.

Nowadays, for example, the Huddersfield Narrow Canal has a reservoir that is not much more than a puddle to supply it, hence it never having enough water even when there is plenty of rain.

It has been suggested, we all find a spot on a river to sit out the heat-wave until the water levels rise again—but even the rivers are running out of water, there is a current notice warning about low water levels on the Severn for instance, and anyway there are not enough moorings on the rivers for more than just a handful of boats.

Fit for purpose?

If CaRT were fit for purpose then we would not be in the ridiculous situation we are in now with canals running dry, lock gates breaking or falling off, cills crumbling, lock walls collapsing, lock gates leaking a chamberful of water in under an hour, stupid rules for volunteers to follow, breaches caused by speeding boats etc., etc.

Perhaps we need a new revolution? Perhaps boaters need to start to think if paying for a licence each year is value for money or perhaps we should think about withholding our hard earned cash until we start to get some consideration appropriate to the amount we pay?

Perhaps if we did not pay anything at all then we might get put to the top of the list like cyclists are at the moment?

Treated with contempt

Does CaRT really think that it can continue to treat boaters with the amount of contempt it is at the moment and get away with it for ever? Does it really think boaters are just going to sit still and pay ever increasing amounts for a so called licence every year and just put up with the crap that eminates from CaRT all the time?

And yes I do mean crap; for instance, I know of nine boaters who were sent those insulting letters this year telling them they had overstayed in one spot when they were actually frozen in. Not the way to gain boaters support is it?

We've had enough

Come on boaters, let's stand together and show CaRT we've had enough of their so-called management policy of putting boaters on the bottom of the pile when it comes to action but the top of the pile when it comes to paying.

Let's see if the boaters' organisations will come together and get their members to withhold their licence fees until we get action from CaRT? CaRT wouldn't be able to take action against all of us, it couldn't afford to lose a single case!

No canals in a few years

If we just sit on our hands and do nothing then we'll not have any canals in a few years. We need to band together to stop it getting worse and start improving things. CaRT like the way we have so many small organisations as it means we are effectively toothless.

We need to band together and speak with one voice and hold CaRT to account because if we don't then we might as well just sell up and leave the canals to silt up.