Boaters Newsletter - January 2014

Dear Users,

Welcome to 2014. We will continue our endeavours to make this a good year for those using the Navigation.

The end of 2013 brought some unwelcome surprises with storm force winds and then unusual flood tides. The storm brought down around forty trees along the Navigation with many blocking the waterway and towpath. This has kept our team of lengthsmen particularly busy along with our willow contractors, and we are still clearing up the aftermath.

The flood tide saw the Navigation Manager and Heybridge Caretakers on duty most of the night evacuating the residential boats and visitors at Heybridge Basin and monitoring flood gates and water levels. Fortunately, the night passed without serious incident and all moored boats remained safe.

Earlier in the autumn, we were disappointed that the contractor appointed to carryout lock cill repairs at both Little Baddow Lock and Paper Mill Lock and piling at Hoe Mill withdrew from the agreed work programme the day before work was due to commence. Tenders are being sought from new contractors for these works, and we will publish a new lock closure programme as soon as we are able.

Users Meeting
Our annual Users Meeting will be held on Tuesday 4th February, 7.30pm at Langford and Ulting Village Hall (opposite the Museum of Power). Please join us for a review of the past year, to meet our staff and to take the opportunity to raise any points you may have.

Mooring Contracts
As we write this (mid-December), there are still a few of you who have not returned the new mooring contract. These come into effect on 1st January 2014. The new contracts are designed to bring clarity, consistency and ease of reference, with all the terms and condition of use for a mooring on the Navigation being brought together in one document rather than being spread over various notices, byelaws and application forms as was the previous case. All existing mooring agreements expire on 31st December 2013, so boat owners wishing to maintain their present mooring need to sign and return their forms immediately. Any enquiries regarding the contracts should be addressed to Hugh Turner at Paper Mill Lock, or Christine Walsh at Head Office.   

Work completed
Our Summer Waterway Recovery Group Canal Camp saw sixteen volunteers working at Ricketts Lock for a week re-grading the lock surrounds and surfacing part of these to prevent further erosion in flood conditions. Nearby banks were also repaired following flood damage. 

We have surfaced the tow path at the Sandford moorings and the Autumn WRG Canal Camp provided twenty volunteers to continue tow path surfacing between Sandford and Barnes Lock.   

Work underway
Work continues on the new north bank toilets and sluice unit at Paper Mill. On completion, a mooring area will be available in front of this for boats to take on water and to use the sluice disposal facilities.

Work is also underway on the new recessed gate access to the Paper Mill Boaters’ car park which will allow vehicles to stand clear of the highway when opening and closing the gate.  
At Sandford, the sewage tank for new toilet block has been installed and we will continue with the building as soon as we are able, with the aim of this being available for the summer.

Work planned
January will see willow planting along the Navigation with around 1000 trees to plant. Work will also start after Christmas to repair the wharf walls adjoining the new Indigo Wharf development in Springfield Basin. During January the water levels will need to be lowered on regular occasions in the basin and this will prevent navigation above Springfield Lock. The repaired wharf will provide new serviced moorings for Essex Waterways.   

Reminders
If visiting your boat during the winter, please remember that landing stages can be slippery, and to take care.

Moorings for ‘upstream’ craft visiting Heybridge Basin are available, next to the Basin Pleasure Boats kiosk, for 24 hour stays. Visiting boats that require use of electricity should contact Martin Maudsley, the Heybridge Lockkeeper, prior to arrival to check availability elsewhere.

We will again be offering use of the Heybridge crane for the ‘lift and hold for a scrub’ during the summer, at a price of £90 for vessels under 10 metre length. Contact Martin Maudsley.
We also have a boat trailer available at Paper Mill Lock for trailable boats whose owners wish to remove boats via the slipway for short period work ashore. Contact Hugh Turner.

We regularly inform our customers of emergency closures or work updates by e-mail letters. If you have e-mail, but are not yet on our circulation list, please let Christine Walsh (Christine.walsh@waterways.org.uk) have your e-mail address:

Volunteers
We are very grateful to both our weekend and our regular volunteers for all the assistance they provide. This allows us to carryout maintenance and improvements that we would not otherwise manage. Their work is not just grass cutting and painting; they also bring skills such as excavator driving and electrical expertise. We are grateful to have received several new expressions of interest in helping recently. If you are interested in volunteering in any way, please contact Graham Brown, Navigation Manager.  

Social Scene
Please join us at the Chelmsford Inland Waterways Association social meetings at Moulsham Mill,
Parkway, Chelmsford (between the Tesco Home Store and Army & Navy roundabout) 7.45pm for an 8.00pm start

9th January.  Craig Haslam will be talking about the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee and other events.
13th February.  Dr Phillipa Noon, River Manager of the Conservators of the River Cam, will be talking about her work.
13th March.  Branch AGM plus speaker Les Etheridge, IWA National Chairman.

Contact Us
Navigation Manager. Graham Brown  07966 375351                   graham.brown@waterways.org.uk
Mooring and Fisheries Manager. Hugh Turner 07910 558465        hugh.turner@waterways.org.uk
Heybridge Lock Keeper. Martin Maudsley 07712 079764       martin.maudsley@waterways.org.uk
VHF Channel 80  ‘Heybridge Lock’
Essex Waterways Helmsman School. Hugh Turner 07910 558465 hugh.turner@waterways.org.uk
Moorings Administrator. Christine Walsh  01494 783453ext 612  christine.walsh@waterways.org.uk

Out of hours Emergency No. 07968 020554