Hello, I am Clive Henderson. My manifesto as a candidate for CRT Private Boaters Representative appears at the foot but here I would like to expand upon a few aspects and challenges likely to affect you, as a boater, using CRT’s waterways during the three years ahead when I would like to represent your interests on the Council:
Around the age of 30 I discovered the joy of taking a relaxing family canal holiday on a boat at modest cost when I was offered it for one week by a family member. We were immediately hooked and we asked to use it the following year as well. Like most of you we chose to invest in an affordable used boat of our own to then discover the costs and snags of ownership as well as the joys.
We were lucky to have a boat club nearby able to offer us a mooring and we soon enjoyed the friendship and practical help and advice from our fellow members. It brought the work party duties needed to keep the costs of the club moorings down but we were able to enjoy all the benefits of AWCC affiliation and I was soon the club’s representative on the West Midlands committee as well as a relatively inactive IWA member although on our branch committee.
Our boat was our main holiday activity and our club, like others, had similar families with young children so boat rallies focussed on activities for them. Sadly I don’t see many similar families today able to afford to take up boat ownership. The future of our waterways depends upon new younger enthusiasts and if they can’t afford to start and if existing owners struggle with ever increasing boat ownership costs, the waterways will suffer. CRT must encourage and support boaters and limit future license and mooring fees if the waterways are to be socially inclusive and evasion rates held down or reduced.
Navigation must have primacy of purpose for CRT and I have actively pursued that aspect as it was set up. Statutory duties are one aspect but CRT must want to keep it to the fore for the future wellbeing of the waterway network.
You should have access whenever you want it, you pay for 12 months use and you should get it.
I believe that CRT has a duty to try to expand the waterway network and, where appropriate, to take on other navigations to integrate them under the Trust. It should support and encourage the restoration of lost waterways and the building of new links and should use its full resources towards that end despite its restricted funding, it should go out and get funding to do it if it wants to keep the support of enthusiasts and deliver its charitable aims. It must not be allowed to sit back to run what government has given it in the form of the ex BW estate. It must prepare to receive the EA navigations and show that its culture, values and practices make it a suitable operator for other waterways in the future.
Every waterway you chose to use should be fit for purpose so it should be adequately dredged with sufficient water supplies and with the corridor adequately maintained in keeping with its character whether rural or urban.
You should be able to safely moor at any appropriate and safe point you select with a defined edge, enjoying adequate depth and controlled vegetation.
You should be able to use water points, pump outs, sanitary stations and rubbish points with ease at times to suit you and, where a cost arises to you, this should reflect the true cost of provision.
Disruption by planned maintenance or emergency stoppage should be kept to a minimum and you should be made aware of why they arise and what is being done.
Regulations and red tape should be kept to a minimum appropriate level on the waterways with an atmosphere where mutual respect and enjoyment takes priority between individual users and groups of users.
You should be able to report problems you experience or anticipate to a central or local service 24/7 and be able to see how your report is followed up and actioned.
Communications with boating users must continue to be improved, we are the eyes and ears that are able to help focus waterway maintenance and priorities, and our opinions should be valued and welcomed as widely as possible. There should be no need for angry websites or weblogs for unhappy boaters to moan to a small circle of likeminded ‘moaners’ – they should be channelled through constructive input media directly to CRT or raised with their elected representatives.
Heritage on and about the waterways in all its widest aspects must be respected by all and maintained by CRT in an appropriate way.
As your elected representative I will always be interested in hearing of your concerns and questions and will do my best to deal with them at the appropriate level. This I have done for many years for IWA members.
I don’t feel that four boaters on a Council of 35 or so members is enough and I will campaign to ensure that despite this limitation your voice is heard and, I hope, improved in three years when the structure is reviewed. A vibrant boating presence on the waterways is essential, they were built for boats.
The Waterway Partnerships are an important aspect of the new CRT set up and they must be made to listen to local concerns, especially of boaters. They must be run by users with a passion for their local waterways and their place in the national network. I hope that with your support my membership of the Council will provide me with access to the Partnership Chairs to ensure your voice, and your concerns and priorities, are heard by them.
Underused waterways need special attention and promotion. If boaters don’t use them now there must be reasons and these need to be addressed through improved maintenance, facilities, guidance and safety actions to get boats using them.
My formal manifesto:
I have been a boater for 30 years. I am chairman of the Inland Waterways Association, and also of British Waterways Advisory Forum. I have ensured that the boaters' viewpoint has been consistently and constantly put forward and have built relationships with key people within CRT and other user groups. Most aspects of the business and operations are familiar to me and I have enjoyed insight into the plans and aspirations for the new charity as they have evolved and have engaged with Defra and Parliament.
My key aims have been to ensure that the charity would have a sound and viable basis in terms of structure, representation and financing.
If you were to elect me I would strive to hold Trustees and Management to account to ensure that navigation is always CRT's prime purpose and that boaters' interests will be held paramount as the principal funders of the system.