Boaters' Newsletter - October 2011

sandford_mooringsThe high temperatures for this time of the year have provided a pleasant extension to the summer which we hope you have all enjoyed. Autumn will however soon be upon us, hence our Autumn Newsletter.

Work completed. Our Lock Landings Project is virtually complete with the two main landing areas to Rushes Lock now available for use. Bank piling to the island below the lock will soon also be complete, thus finalising this project which has seen the landing areas at Barnes Lock, Sandford Lock, Little Baddow Lock, Rushes Lock and Ricketts Lock all improved. We are grateful for funding assistance from the Essex County Council Community Initiatives Fund towards this project.

We have also received assistance from Essex County Council in surfacing footpaths and the towpath at Heybridge Basin.

Large areas of brickwork repair and reinstatement have been undertaken to the sluice areas and tunnels at Little Baddow Mill. Although in the grounds of this Private residential property and hardly visible from the Navigation, they are an important part of the navigation infrastructure which remain the responsibility of the Navigation.

The renewal of mooring jetties is now complete at the Sandford site and is continuing at Heybridge Basin.

Proposed work. As previously reported our major project for the year is the piling work to the north quay at Heybridge Basin. The necessary consents for this are expected soon and it is still planned to carry this out before the year end. The project will also include improvements to the electric services along this part of the quay. Funding assistance towards this work has been received from Essex & Suffolk Water and Essex County Council.

A Waterway Recovery Group week Canal Camp in late October is providing nearly 20 volunteers who will concentrate on removing overhanging vegetation downstream of Hoe Mill.

Staff changes. Ian Fossett has joined us as residential caretaker on the upper moorings at Hoe Mill and Neil Ramsden on the upper moorings at Heybridge Basin. We still have a vacancy for a second residential caretaker on the upper moorings at Heybridge Basin.

Boat lifting. Heybridge Basin has seen a particularly busy summer with an increased number of visiting boats and also many boats from the Navigation being lifted out for maintenance work. We already have many boats booked for lifting out for winter storage. If you are intending to use this service, you are advised to contact Martin Maudsley at an early date as our space is limited.If you wish to use our boat trailer for maintenance in conjunction with the slipway at Paper Mill, please contact Hugh Turner.

Helmsman’s Courses. Since our recognition by the Royal Yachting Association as a training centre for the RYA Inland Helmsman’s Certificate – the most widely recognised boat-handling qualification on Britain’s inland waterways, we have found that there is a continuing demand for this tuition. The one day courses can be arranged as required, and will run with only two or three students under the supervision of a fully qualified instructor. For full course details and to book places please contact Hugh Turner at Paper Mill Lock.

Charges for 2012. With the Retail Price Index and Consumer Price Index running at over 5% our overheads are continuing to rise. Our Board has however agreed to follow our practice of previous years and limit our increase in charges for 2012 to below inflation. The increase will therefore be 4%. This is very much in contrast to other waterways where prices are being increased above these indexes. The increase will apply to all mooring and other charges including commercial vessels, canoes, visitor moorings, crane fees, yacht stores and trailer parking etc. The residential mooring charges at Heybridge Basin will increase by a further 10% as the final increase of the five previously agreed annual increases to bring these rates to 50% above standard rates over a five year period. These changes take effect from 1st January 2012.

Volunteers. We continue to be grateful to all our volunteers for the work they carry out and we welcome those new volunteers who have joined us. This valuable contribution helps us to achieve higher standards for all users of the Navigation than we could otherwise afford. Please consider if you could help too - contact Colin Edmond.

Social meetings. A reminder that you are welcome to attend meetings of IWA's Chelmsford Branch, which are held monthly at Moulsham Mill, Parkway, Chelmsford (next to the Tesco Homestore and Army & Navy roundabout). Meetings are at 7.45pm for an 8.00pm start. The programme is:

13th Oct. The Story of London’s Docks - Jeremy Batch
10th Nov. The Bow Back Rivers & Olympic Construction Site - Colin Edwards
8th Dec. Christmas Social with Towpath Tel and Memphis Bob (of Paper Mill Lock fame) please bring some food for the buffet and your own alcohol if you require.

12th Jan. London’s Water Supply – John Cunningham
9thFeb. Travels with my Canoe - Roger Wilkinson
8thMar. AGM. Refreshments and members' slides
12thApr. My Early Days In Barging – Jimmy Laurence
10thMay. The Lowland Canals – Richard Thomas