Boaters Newsletter - January 2012

Dear Users,

We wish you all the best for the New Year and the new season.

Users Meeting

This is our invitation to you to attend our next Users Meeting which is due to take place on Tuesday 21st February 2012 at 7.30pm at Langford Village Hall (situated on the B1019 Hatfield Peverel to Maldon road opposite the Museum of Power). Please join us for our annual get together at which we illustrate what we have been doing and what we propose to do on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation before holding a question and answer session. Please join us for this evening and let us have your views.

Work Completed

Many of you will be aware that we have been working throughout 2011 to repair and improve the landing areas at several locks along the Navigation. Work has been carried out at the following sites:
•    Barnes Lock – new piling and extended landing stages above and below the lock
•    Sandford Lock - the bank to the upper towpath stage has been re-piled
•    Little Baddow Lock – new timber landing stage above lock
•    Rushes Lock – new piling and extended landing stages above and below  the lock  
•    Ricketts Lock – new timber landing stage above lock and new piling below to extend landing stage
This work is now complete and we are grateful for the grant funding towards the project received from Essex County Council Community Initiatives Fund. We have been asked to install additional timber stages above Barnes Lock, Little Baddow Lock and Ricketts Lock to improve landing for the longer narrowboats and we plan to seek the necessary consents for these.
Our second 2011 week long Waterway Recovery Group Canal Camp took place at the end of October and concentrated upon removal of overhanging trees and towpath vegetation management between Hoe Mill and Beeleigh.

Our major project for 2011 was the piling to the North Quay at Heybridge Basin and this was completed just before Christmas. Work will however continue here in the New Year whilst we install new electrical shore-power services and resurface the parking area. Funding assistance towards the piling was provided by Essex & Suffolk Water and Essex County Council. We are grateful for our users’ cooperation during the work which has restricted the normal quayside parking.

Proposed Work   

During January we propose to carry out improvements to the Paper Mill slipway. Our main work programme for 2012 is currently being finalised, and is likely to include work to repair cills at several locks and maybe install new gates at Hoe Mill Lock, which would  involve some short term lock closures. We intend to programme these so as to minimise disruption, especially in the busiest seasons and inform you of closure dates as soon as these are known.

2012 will also see four more week-long Waterway Recovery Group Canal Camps working on the Navigation, and the first of these, in February, is already fully booked!  

Staff Changes

We reported in our October Newsletter that Ian Fossett had joined us as residential caretaker at Hoe Mill and Neil Ramsden on the upper moorings at Heybridge Basin. We are very saddened to report the sudden and unexpected death of Peter Warr, residential caretaker at Sandford upper moorings. During his time with us his work at Sandford was very noticeable and he will be greatly missed. We will also miss Terry Snell who, due to health reasons has retired from his position at Paper Mill.

We currently have three vacancies for residential caretakers on the Navigation and any serious interest in these positions should be registered with Colin Edmond, Navigation Manager.  There are further details on the web site

Health and Safety Watch

The safety of waterway users, staff, volunteers and every visitor to the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation is of the greatest concern to us. There are procedures in place to try to ensure that every structure is properly maintained, and that the waterway corridor within our responsibility is managed in a way to promote a safe environment for everyone. In addition, we welcome advice from all users and visitors to the waterway about anything that might have been overlooked, or not yet come to our attention (e.g. a fallen or unsafe tree). We have therefore set up an on-line reporting system which is linked from the Home page of the Essex Waterways website.

Proof of Residence     

In our June 2011 newsletter we asked for opinions about Essex Waterways seeking proof of residency from boat owners on the navigation, so as to avoid unofficial residential moorings, which can cause us a problem with local authority planning regulations.  There were no adverse responses to the consultation, and everyone seems to understand the need for this approach, so the procedures outlined in the June 2011 newsletter are to be brought into force during 2012.  Thank you for your support on this delicate issue.

The Inland Waterways Association     

We have previously drawn attention to the offer to customers of Essex Waterways Ltd. from our parent organisation The Inland Waterways Association for a year’s free membership. This offer is still open and we encourage you to join, especially at this time of great change for the national waterway network.

IWA's Chelmsford Branch holds meetings at Moulsham Mill, Parkway, Chelmsford, (next to Tesco Homestore and the Army & Navy roundabout) and timed at 7.45pm for an 8.00pm start.  You are all welcome to attend, whether members or not. Next meetings are:
12th January.    London’s Water Supply, John Cunningham
9th February.    Travels with my canoe, Roger Wilkinson
8th March.         Annual General Meeting

Web-site

Essex Waterways has its own comprehensive section within the IWA web-site, where you can find useful information: www.waterways.org.uk
This can also be accessed by: www.essexwaterways.com 

Contacts

Navigation Manager, Colin Edmond. 07966 375351
Moorings and Fisheries Manager, Hugh Turner. 07910 558465 (office hours)
Essex Waterways Helmsman School, Hugh Turner. 07910 558465 (office hours)
Heybridge Lock keeper, Martin Maudsley. 07712 079764. VHF Channel 80 “Heybridge Lock”