Victor does not believe it!

Published: Sunday, 02 October 2022

IT WAS James Henry who asked if we can believe there's going to be 172 large scale major winter works as promised by Canal & River Trust.

If the past is anything to go by then it is fairly certain that we do not believe it.

Last winter we were promised there would be 168 major works undertaken over 48 waterways, then came the drip-feed of cancellations, our Keith discovering 13 of the promised ones that were cancelled 'as not needed' or something along those lines.

But come the light of day, alas, many of the cancelled works were needed, as with the boating season then came the further drip-feed of the stoppages, including the Calder & Hebble, Sheffield & South Yorks, Kennet & Avon, the Grand Union and more, all closing the waterways when they needed to be open.

Calling such as repairs to masonry and brickwork and the like as 'major works' is a bit much. Mind you, with the contractors that are employed it is most likely they can be, based on past records—eh?

HaywordJuctionA standard for boaters' facilities?

So Canal & River Trust is setting a national standard for the water points, refuse sites and other boater facilities that it provides across the waterways network.

Telling us of the many hundreds it looks after and that there is no statutory requirement, that I find difficult to understand.  For surely the statutory requirement is obvious to anyoneto keep the things open and working.

Which is certainly what it is not doing at the moment, with contributor Brian D Jarrett only last week pointing out that of the two water points at the busy junction at Great Hayward (pictured) only one has worked now for well over a year!

Sanitary stationHow often have you gone to refuse collection points to find the bins overflowing, with no alternative to leaving your bags on the floor with the others?

For those who rely on sanitary stations, how about the one pictured that contributor Tom Redway came across, that was needing some urgent attention.

And how about facilities closed for one reason or another?

It certainly doesn't need a 'national standard setting', it simply needs all the facilities kept open in working order.

Or is this all yet another smokescreen where boaters are asked loaded questions designed to show the facilities in a good light?

Repair them properly

With a really unbelievable 11 swing/lift bridges closed in just one month, it must surely show that whoever is repairing them has actually no idea what they are doing or just making further cushy work for themselves.

The number of such bridges continually failing just cannot be accounted for by normal use, especially as some fail time and time again, bringing to mind the Coxhead on the Leeds & Liverpool and the Winkwell on the Grand Union that constantly fail.

It is obvious to all that something is very much amiss for such frequent failures, that never happened in the past under the then British Waterways Board, as cruising now for 28 years, I can well testify.

In those days of course they were maintained 'in house', that as well proved to be the only way—especially for us long-suffering boaters.

Victor Swift