Any more 'visions'?

Published: Monday, 06 January 2020

IT WAS in 2002 that British Waterways launched its 2012 'vision':

'Our ambition is that by 2012 we will have created an expanded, vibrant, largely self sufficient waterway network used by twice as many people as in 2002. It will be regarded as one of the nation's most important and valued national assets. Visitors will be delighted with the quality of the experience and as a consequence many will become active participants'.

But by its Annual General Meeting in October of 2009, that 'vision' had gone by the board with the announcement of a new 2020 'vision' by the then British Waterways Chief Executive Robin Evans resulting in the formation two years later of Canal & River Trust.

At that time the government told 'a charity will be better placed than a public body to liberate such benefits and promote the waterways network across all sections of the community: reaching out to young people, finding new constituencies of interest, and generating the sort of widespread and deep commitment that will guarantee the waterways future prosperity'.

But what has 2020 actually brought as far as boaters are concerned?—the drastic depletion of the workforce, it being replaced by often unreliable and obviously inferior unpaid volunteers, plus the ever increasing backlog of maintenance resulting in stoppage after stoppage.

Some 'vision'!