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There's a fairly limited supply of boaters, a reasonable proportion of whom have already found ways of gaming an increasingly inefficient system. Whack the licences and mooring fees up and you are into diminishing returns - it gets less attractive even to the rich chaps when half the canals are shut in prime time and stoppages make it likely time-short cruise planning is impossible.

The only genuine way to increase the numbers of boats and income considerably is to scrap the 14 day rule and mooring fees, double the licence cost to maintain income level, allow all mooring anywhere on the towpath to be residential, and increase enforcement so as to immediately impound and subsequently destroy any boat seen without licence and number displayed. Like untaxed cars, they could allow 14 days for boats to be registered, then scrap them.

There's no future for the system as a leisure facility, it needs to get back to what it was designed for - commercial use, and that's now housing, not transport.

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11 hours ago, dmr said:

 

So who would this new "Navigation" Authority be?   Somebody with knowledge of running a transport system and first hand knowledge of the canals?  A track record of delivering projects in the outdoor sector and with community engagement.   let me think.....................Sustrans!    and I am not joking.

Sustrans are a campaign/pressure  and fundraising charity, they don't actually manage and maintain the cycle network, they get other people to do it.

 

The biggest problem for whoever has responsibilities for the canals and navigable rivers is that the current available budget to spend is not enough to maintain them in the long term. It doesn't matter how good at management you are, or if you are a boater or not, the simple problem is money.

 

Getting the general public to donate to a charity to maintain paths that they probably think are maintained by the council, and waterways and locks for rich boaters isn't going to happen.

 

Charging boaters more will help but won't be enough on its own.

 

CRT's strategy of trying to convince the government that the canals have a public (mental) health benefit that can only be maintained by central government funding is probably the most likely way to get the missing funding. However their implementation of the strategy leaves a lot to be desired.

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The National Trust own and operate the River Wey Navigation; how's that going? Have they demonstrated a fitness to control the whole system during their tenure?

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46 minutes ago, Idle Days said:

The National Trust own and operate the River Wey Navigation; how's that going? Have they demonstrated a fitness to control the whole system during their tenure?

They own the navigation and are responsible for the locks, towpath and some of the sluices. But as it is a river, they don't own most of the channel, bridges, flood control structures etc. That leaves them with a whole lot fewer responsibilities than a canal owner, and consequently needs less funding on a per mile basis.

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Fascinating debate, thankyou for the contributions.

 

One of the reasons I think charitable status hasn't worked is that CRT simply isn't 'lovable' in the way that 'National Trust' is.  By adopting a corporate ethos (seemingly driven by brand obsession, remorseless secrecy and a refusal to publicly take responsibility for its shortcomings) goodwill from its users simply doesn't exist - the ever declining satisfaction of boaters being a prime illustration (which simply isn't a matter for discussion).

 

Admittedly, CRT is caught in a tragedy of the commons. Everyone thinks they have a right to access the towpath to walk, run, cycle and now (encouraged by CRT) to paddle but no one is prepared to pay more than £1 per person per year in E&W.  Why should they? It doesn't matter whether the canal is 4 feet deep or just six inches. Doesn't matter if locks work nor if all the wharves, yards, and other properties are flogged off to developers.  Doesn't matter if 35,000 ageing white folk can or can't go boating.  The demonstration of health and wellbeing strategy isn't just futile but it's actually existentially dangerous to the fabric of everything most of us hold dear, namely the maintenence of navigation.

 

So let's start again shall we?

 

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2 hours ago, SE Barlow said:

(seemingly driven by brand obsession, remorseless secrecy and a refusal to publicly take responsibility for its shortcomings)

Do you think the National Trust is immune to the same sorts of issues? I seemed to recall various criticisms being voiced in the media of NT's approach to 'woke' issues, or the way they treat some of their farm tenants.

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2 hours ago, SE Barlow said:

Fascinating debate, thankyou for the contributions.

 

One of the reasons I think charitable status hasn't worked is that CRT simply isn't 'lovable' in the way that 'National Trust' is.  By adopting a corporate ethos (seemingly driven by brand obsession, remorseless secrecy and a refusal to publicly take responsibility for its shortcomings) goodwill from its users simply doesn't exist - the ever declining satisfaction of boaters being a prime illustration (which simply isn't a matter for discussion).

 

Admittedly, CRT is caught in a tragedy of the commons. Everyone thinks they have a right to access the towpath to walk, run, cycle and now (encouraged by CRT) to paddle but no one is prepared to pay more than £1 per person per year in E&W.  Why should they? It doesn't matter whether the canal is 4 feet deep or just six inches. Doesn't matter if locks work nor if all the wharves, yards, and other properties are flogged off to developers.  Doesn't matter if 35,000 ageing white folk can or can't go boating.  The demonstration of health and wellbeing strategy isn't just futile but it's actually existentially dangerous to the fabric of everything most of us hold dear, namely the maintenence of navigation.

 

So let's start again shall we?

 

But how should we start again?

 

Are you saying that CRT have enough money to fully maintain all the currently navigable canals and rivers currently in their care, and it is just poor management and decision making that is causing the problems?

Because there have been numerous threads on this forum that show there is a lack of money causing a substantial part of the problem, and that more money is needed.

 

Also I disagree that the people who use the towpaths don't care if the locks work or if the water is deep enough, many of them enjoy watching boats. And maintaining the navigation stops the canals becoming stagnant ditches which no one would want to walk alongside. 

 

Do you have any practical suggestions as to how things could be improved? Just starting again with a new navigation authority would simply mean more money wasted on another rebranding.

 

I think CRT should carry on, with new leadership hopefully they can convince the government that there is benefit to the wider population in funding the canals.

And maybe the way to increase charitable donations is to stop collecting on a national level, and collect locally for specific projects or canals.

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1 hour ago, Barneyp said:

And maybe the way to increase charitable donations is to stop collecting on a national level, and collect locally for specific projects or canals.

CRT tried that with a special appeal for the Dutton breach a few years back. Raised about 10% of the cost of the repair if I remember correctly. So nice to have, but not a game changer, and less spectacular projects are likely to raise less.

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Can’t see the point of replacing CRT with another Quango. The problem is the current management team and trustees have little empathy with their Customers. They tried to  run the system as a business attracting other income streams that failed. They tried to rebrand and outsource/retire  most of the in-house expertise with the resulting failure of any preventative maintenance. They are now trying to rebrand as a ‘health’ brand which fools nobody. There needs to be a complete rethink about what CRT stands for and how it’s funded. If navigation and heritage is to remain at its heart then at the very least a reasonable number of the management team should have an interest in boating and all it entails. Even if that means buying a few boats and giving them a couple of weeks free holidays as a perk of the job.

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Name me one business in this country which is run by someone who gives a toss about the product. It simply doesn't work like that - you have "managers" who apparently have this particular skill while being unable to do (or understand) any relevant work. And these managers just shuffle round their gravy train from one boardroom to the next, usually after they've made a pig's ear of the last one. And if you replace CRT, that's what will happen, only they'll know even less than the current lot do. Alan Leighton is a prime example of repeated failure leading to better and better paid jobs.

The canals are a declining asset, with a badly managed decline, which is possibly slightly better than an efficient one. There won't be enough funding whatever you do, unless you find a brand new demand for the system, and as I've said before, the only one I can think of is to use it for cheap housing, and encourage people to use it as such.

 

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13 hours ago, Tuscan said:

Can’t see the point of replacing CRT with another Quango. The problem is the current management team and trustees have little empathy with their Customers. They tried to  run the system as a business attracting other income streams that failed. They tried to rebrand and outsource/retire  most of the in-house expertise with the resulting failure of any preventative maintenance. They are now trying to rebrand as a ‘health’ brand which fools nobody. There needs to be a complete rethink about what CRT stands for and how it’s funded. If navigation and heritage is to remain at its heart then at the very least a reasonable number of the management team should have an interest in boating and all it entails. Even if that means buying a few boats and giving them a couple of weeks free holidays as a perk of the job.

With Allan Leighton standing down and CRT recruiting his replacement from outside, it would have been an ideal opportunity to get someone appointed as chair that had some experience of inland waterways navigation and heritage. 

 

Having seen the job description for the new chair, it ain't going to happen. 

 

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18 minutes ago, Allan(nb Albert) said:

With Allan Leighton standing down and CRT recruiting his replacement from outside, it would have been an ideal opportunity to get someone appointed as chair that had some experience of inland waterways navigation and heritage. 

 

Having seen the job description for the new chair, it ain't going to happen. 

 

 

Paul Rodgers is available ...

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1 hour ago, Allan(nb Albert) said:

... does he have a sidekick to replace Parry? 

9 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

Yeah, not that one.  I meant the previous chairman of the IWA.

 

 

 

 

That's good as he might have a trusty sidekick to bring with him, not bad company like the one I was thinking of.

 

Edited by Lily Rose
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16 hours ago, Arthur Marshall said:

Name me one business in this country which is run by someone who gives a toss about the product. It simply doesn't work like that - you have "managers" who apparently have this particular skill while being unable to do (or understand) any relevant work. And these managers just shuffle round their gravy train from one boardroom to the next, usually after they've made a pig's ear of the last one. And if you replace CRT, that's what will happen, only they'll know even less than the current lot do. Alan Leighton is a prime example of repeated failure leading to better and better paid jobs.

The canals are a declining asset, with a badly managed decline, which is possibly slightly better than an efficient one. There won't be enough funding whatever you do, unless you find a brand new demand for the system, and as I've said before, the only one I can think of is to use it for cheap housing, and encourage people to use it as such.

 

If CRT had taken on the role of a housing authority when they had the land, they would be under strong criticism from boaters, but migh t be a viable business

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3 minutes ago, LadyG said:

If CRT had taken on the role of a housing authority when they had the land, they would be under strong criticism from boaters, but migh t be a viable business

What are you talking about? Explain how they would 'take on the role of a housing authority'

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3 minutes ago, LadyG said:

Build houses, rent houses.

Instead of which they just sold the land to the big companies, who did exactly that. But then everyone kept rabbitting on about CRT being a navigation authority, which it isn't.

If it's legit for it to provide leisure facilities on the towpath in the shape of amenities for walking, cycling and worm-drowning, and rent the ground under it for cabling, and flog the water to farmers,  then it's also legit to provide space for residential boaters. They'd make a sight more money from it.

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1 hour ago, Arthur Marshall said:

Instead of which they just sold the land to the big companies, who did exactly that. But then everyone kept rabbitting on about CRT being a navigation authority, which it isn't.

If it's legit for it to provide leisure facilities on the towpath in the shape of amenities for walking, cycling and worm-drowning, and rent the ground under it for cabling, and flog the water to farmers,  then it's also legit to provide space for residential boaters. They'd make a sight more money from it.

 

Not if they all wanted to cc. 😉

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2 hours ago, Lily Rose said:

 

That's good as he might have a trusty sidekick to bring with him, not bad company like the one I was thinking of.

 

I was, of course, referring to Phil Hornsey (IWA CEO) who departed the same time as the IWA chair

 

2 hours ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

Yeah, not that one.  I meant the previous chairman of the IWA.

 

 

I know you did... 

 

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