Boaters Newsletter - October 2013

Dear Users,

We did get a summer after all and we hope you made good use of the improved weather. It was good to see plenty of activity along the Navigation.

An apology
You should be aware that we introduced an Emergency Phone Number  for use at times when Essex Waterways staff are unavailable so that emergencies could be reported to us, e.g. a pollution incident or lock failure. We have now found that this has not been functioning properly and our staff have not always  been able to answer calls or pick to up messages. We apologise to those who have used the number and not received any acknowledgement. Needless to say this has been dealt with and we will ensure a better service is provided.

Work completed   
The bank piling alongside the tow path below Paper Mill Lock is now complete and this bank will be kept available for visiting boats including use for overnight mooring. We thank our Paper Mill customers for their patience and cooperation whilst the car park was closed for contractors’ use.

Work underway 
The timber frame structure of the new toilets and sluice on the north bank at Paper Mill is now taking shape and this will be available for use for the 2014 season. We do not have a firm completion date as the work is being undertaken by our own staff and they are regularly called away to deal with other duties along the Navigation. Upon completion, our next facilities improvements will be the toilets and sluice at Sandford, for which the base and holding tank is now in place.

Work planned
Our published programme of work from the end of August through to Christmas included replacing lock cills at Little Baddow Lock and Paper Mill Lock, piling above Hoe Mill Lock and new bottom gates at Hoe Mill. Unfortunately, on the day before work at Little Baddow Lock was due to start, the appointed contractor withdrew from the agreed work programme and is no longer in a position to undertake the work for us. We will need to seek tenders from new contractors to undertake all these works, which is underway, and we will publish a new lock closure programme as soon as we are able.

New Moorings Contracts
Boat owners are reminded that, following the consultation earlier this year, new mooring contracts will come into force on 1st January 2014.  The new contracts are designed to bring clarity, consistency and ease of reference, with all the terms and conditions of use of 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 case in the past.  All the existing mooring agreements expire on 31st December, so boat owners wishing to maintain their present mooring will need to sign and return the new forms before 31st December.   The new contracts are due to go out with the final quarter invoices for 2013, along with this newsletter.  Boat owners with any enquiries should contact the Moorings Manager, Hugh Turner, at Paper Mill Lock, or Christine Walsh at Head Office.

Mooring fees and charges   
All mooring fees and other charges levied by Essex Waterways Ltd are due to rise by 2.5% with effect from 1st January 2014, other than the fees for class 4 licences, which cover canoes and other unpowered vessels.  In real terms, this represents another year of savings for boat owners, as the increase is below inflation, as measured by both the Consumer Price Index and the Retail Price Index, as well as the increases due on most pensions.  There will also be some adjustment of the classification to some moorings at Sandford (which, apart from those against the towpath, will change to ‘standard’ rate to reflect improved facilities provided in recent years) and a small number of moorings at Heybridge (where all moorings with an electricity supply will be classed as ‘premium’ to achieve consistency for everyone).

Insurance Certificates and Boat Safety Scheme
Just a small number of boat owners (less than 5%) fail to send in copies of their boat insurance certificates promptly and keep their vessel up-to-date with the Boat Safety Scheme, so it seems unfair that everyone else should have to bear the cost of continual reminders to the few to achieve adherence to these simple requirements that are for everyone’s benefit.  With this in mind, the board has decided that the £50 administration charges will be levied a little more promptly on those who are failing to fulfil their obligations.  There are, however, no plans to impose the charges for a simple oversight – the charges are meant for those who know they are ‘playing the system’ and being bad neighbours.  You know who you are!

New Directors
We are pleased to welcome two new directors to the board of Essex Waterways Ltd.
Peter Martin, lives in Little Baddow and is well known locally as the former leader of Essex County Council. Peter has taken a keen interest in the Navigation for many years.
David Carrington, a boat owner and  member of IWA’s Finance Committee will bring some additional financial expertise and support to the board which will be very welcome.

Social Scene
Chelmsford Branch IWA (IWA is our parent organisation) has started its new programme of social meetings. Chelmsford Branch spearheaded the rescue of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation from closure together with its operation by IWA and the formation of Essex Waterways Ltd. in 2005. Your support of the Branch would therefore be very welcome and you are invited to attend any or all of the forthcoming events.

10th October. Talk by Kenneth Templey of Canability about this charity which provides canal boat holidays for disabled and disadvantaged people in their specially converted boats.

14th November. Jimmy Lawrence makes a welcome return with Part 2 of his very entertaining talk.  He was very well received with Part 1.

December 12th. Tony Plunket will be joining the Christmas Social to show a DVD on the Diamond Jubilee – strongly recommended by those who have seen it.

January 9th. Craig Haslam will be talking about the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee plus other events.

13th February. Dr Phillipa Noon River Manager for The Conservators of The River Cam will be talking about her work.

13th March.  AGM plus Les Etheridge, IWA National Chairman speaking.

April, May and June to be confirmed.



Contacts


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

Out of hours Emergency No. 07968 020554
 






Essex Waterways Ltd