Boaters Newsletter - January 2013

Dear Users,

Update

I am afraid we start with a warning. There has been a series of break-ins to boats and theft of outboard motors from marinas and moorings within the Essex and Suffolk areas over recent months, including some spots on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation. The same sites have often been targeted more than once. Please do not leave valuables on view in your boat or outboards unlocked, if possible, take your outboard and fuel tank home for safe winter storage.

Users meeting

Our annual Users Meeting will take place on Wednesday 30th January at 7.30pm at Langford & Ulting Village Hall (opposite the Museum of Power). Please join us for a review of the past year and the opportunity to discuss any issues you may wish to raise. Come and meet our new staff members.

Work completed

A second phase of work to repair tunnels and sluices at Little Baddow Mill House has been completed with the rebuilding of the downstream bridge. Although the Mill House is in private ownership and these structures are not visible to Navigation users, they are nevertheless important structures that regulate water flows and remain the responsibility of the Navigation. The downstream bridge had seen many years of neglect during which time tree roots and ivy had caused serious damage to the structure which, as a result, required considerable rebuilding.

Repairs to the Ladies section of the Heybridge Basin facilities block should be complete by Christmas including the installation of new showers, lighting and painting. We thank you for your patience whilst this work has been undertaken.

At Springfield Basin, both the first floor toilet and the ground floor sluice room have been fitted with entry code locks. These are available to our users and the entry code number is 2469.

The new electricity supply connection to the North Quay at Heybridge Basin has finally been made and the new shore-power facilities should be operational shortly after the Christmas break. The final surfacing of the adjoining car parking has also been completed.

The final 2012 Waterway Recovery Group volunteer Canal Camp on the Navigation took place over the week covering the end of October and beginning of November and was spent dealing with trees overhanging the navigation and overgrown banks below Ricketts Lock.

Work planned

There are several locks where cills require repair or replacement during 2013 and we also plan to install new lower gates at Hoe Mill Lock. This is a considerable work requirement for the year and at the present time the work programme in respect of timings has not been finalised with contractors. We will make this known as soon as it is available, but are conscious of the desire to avoid busy spring and summer periods. We are also planning to progress the building of new toilets at Paper Mill North Bank and at the Sandford moorings.

Tenders and canoes

There are a considerable number of unidentified dinghies, canoes and kayaks at various locations along the Navigation. Some are bona fida tenders to moored boats, and some others we know about which are licensed and paying storage charges. We allow one non-powered small tender for each moored boat, but these and all craft need to be clearly identified. If kept as a free of charge tender the identification should be “T/T (tender to) NAME OF MOORED BOAT”

All other boats, whether canoes or dinghies, should show either a boat’s name (and the name should be entered on our register of small boats) or the owners’ name and telephone number. It is IMPORTANT that all such boats are registered, as we need to ascertain ownership and be able to recognise abandoned and unregistered boats so we can dispose of them. For boats other than “tenders” a small monthly storage charge will be made. If you own a dinghy, canoe or kayak on the Navigation, which is not presently registered, please contact the Moorings Manager. During the summer, once everyone has had an opportunity to claim and register such small boats, we shall be clearing away and disposing of those that are unidentified and thus appear to have been abandoned.

Compliance & Finance Correspondence

Regretfully some customers have been unhappy to receive 28 day notice letters from the Moorings Manager indicating actions that might be taken in situations relating to account arrears or non-compliance. It has been suggested by some that these letters are too heavy-handed. We would like to clarify that such letters are never a first approach, and usually follow two or three previous attempts at communication to which no response has been forthcoming. One or two people have claimed that they have not received the earlier communications, and this appears to be because of our increasing use of email. Where email addresses have been provided to us by customers, these may be used by Head Office for administrative correspondence, as email is generally a quicker and more cost-effective medium than the generation and posting of traditional letters. However, the system breaks down when customers either don’t read their emails, or change email addresses without letting us know.

If you have provided EWL with an email address, but would prefer that we don’t use it as a primary medium of communication, or if you have changed your email address since completing your Long Term Mooring Application, please let us know.

We do regret upsetting anyone who, for whatever reason, missed previous attempts at correspondence before receiving a 28 day notice letter, but these letters do work and the positive response to them has hugely reduced our debt and compliance lists. To avoid any such correspondence please remember that our only payment terms are by monthly Direct Debit or quarterly in advance (upon receipt of invoice) and that we cannot allow arrears to accumulate on our customers’ accounts; and that we do require evidence of current and valid third party insurance, and where appropriate a Boat Safety Certificate, both at the inception of a mooring agreement, and upon renewal of insurance or Boat Safety Certificate. Thank you.

Events

Several events take place along the Navigation during the course of the year. We would like to produce a programme of these so as to avoid any possible clashes of interest and to make you aware of them. If you are planning an event, please let Graham Brown, Navigation Manager, know the dates and details for inclusion.

IWA Chelmsford Branch meetings

You are all welcome to attend these meetings which are held at Moulsham Mill, Parkway, Chelmsford, (next to Tesco Home Store and the Army & Navy roundabout), and timed at 7.45 pm for an 8.00pm start.

The forthcoming programme is:

10th January   Darren Tansley from Essex Wildlife Trust-Vole Recovery Project

14th February   Denys Harrison – The Story of Heybridge Basin

14th March     AGM plus members slides, etc

11th April        C Barltrop – A live-a-boards view of the Olympics and Exclusion Zone

9th May         Tim Coghlan - Evelyn’s War-the life of an Idle Woman