Equal funding for walkers

Published: Thursday, 13 August 2020

SO THE Canal & River Trust wants equal funding for towpath walkers as that of cyclists, asks Keith Gudgin.

I say how about parity of funding by spending the money on groups according to the amount they contribute on an individual basis?  This appears to be along the lines of: Boaters 99%, Anglers 1%, Cyclists 0%, Walkers 0%?

The article continues that the towpath saw an increase in local usage during lockdown, as people stayed at home and turned to these linear parks for their daily exercise.

Doing so illegally

Just because we had a massive influx of walkers during the lockdown, most of which were doing so illegally by not social distancing from the resident boaters or each other, does not mean we should now throw more of the boaters' licence money at improving things for them whilst the infrastructure of the canals for boaters remains neglected and continues to deteriorate at an ever increasing rate.

Richard Parry told The Times that the towpaths are in easy reach of some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities, including those most likely to suffer from obesity, Type 2 diabetes and poor mental health.

Health risks

Again, no care for the boating community who were arguing throughout about their health risks during the lockdown! We couldn't exercise properly because of the crowds tramping past our boats?  It was even very risky leaving our boats to go shopping. I personally know of some resident boaters suffering from mental health problems because of it.

There is also no doubt that some have increased their obesity rating because of lack of exercise opportunities and reduced access to fresh wholesome foods because of the need to stay away from the masses of walkers on the towpath.

Does he, or anyone at CaRT, know how many boaters suffer from obesity, Type 2 diabetes or poor mental health.  Of course they don't.

Not treated fairly

Boaters, as far as CaRT outgoing priorities go, are a very 'disadvantaged community'.  Do they get priority in funding?  It appears not.  Do they contribute the most individually?  It appears so. Therefore are they being treated fairly?  Not as far as I can see they're not.

CaRT are now losing the hirers and holiday boaters, including the funds they generate. They are also getting fed up with the state of the system.  One has already said he will not be coming back (See article: Unable to experience the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.) This dissapointed visitor wrote in to say so but how many just went home never to return without saying anything?

It is now totally obvious to me that CaRT is not fit for purpose.