Chaiman refuses pertinent questions

Published: Friday, 12 November 2010

THE magazine Waterways World organised a 'webchat' with British Waterways Chairman Tony Hales yesterday (Thursday) which was nothing more than the usual claptrap, with any controversial question being completely ignored.

British Waterways was represented by both Tony Hales and Marketing Director Simon Salem, but consistently refused to answer many pertinent questions.

Chairman, Tony Hales, was asked a question about the £33 million lost on Gloucester Quays, but completely failed to respond, writes Allan Richards.

Never answered

No doubt prompted by the recent article in narrowboatworld detailing how BW have lost £33m of public funds on the Gloucester Quays joint venture, 'Graham' asked 'Does the board ever expect to see a return on the Gloucester Quays investment?'. His question was never answered.

Indeed 'Graham' did not seem to be the only one reading narrowboatworld. When the chairman mentioned raising money from commercial enterprise he was rebuked by 'Ann' who said 'I assume you don't include running pubs in the raising of money from commercial enterprises, Tony'.

That question too was ignored, and the pair also ignored other questions notably one on the size of maintenance backlog which is believed to now stand at over £300 millions, but should have been eliminated by 2012 and another asking why the public consultation to be held in the new year will not contain proposals on funding.

Needless to say, everyone was too polite to ask what had happened to Chief Executive, Robin Evans. Perhaps BW thought his appearance might generate some questions on executive directors salaries.