Ivor Caplan - CRT Manifesto

ivor_caplan97_110pxIvor Caplan’s manifesto as a candidate for CRT Private Boaters Representative.  

I have

  • been boating for 35 years including 15 years living afloat
  • cruised extensively including lesser used waterways such as the BCN
  • been involved through the RBOA in achieving greater recognition of residential boating
  • worked towards formalising residential moorings and developing new ones
  • supported boating interests through major involvement in IWA and Canal Societies
  • played a part in increasing navigable waterways through restoration of the Droitwich Canals

If elected to CRT Council I will

  • argue for the primacy of navigation and boating as benefitting all waterways users
  • continue to champion the total heritage of the inland waterways
  • make the case for responsible residential boating as a major benefit to CRT
  • fight for the survival and regeneration of lesser used parts of the system
  • campaign for boating activities to be made accessible and affordable for all sectors of society
  • negotiate for maintenance including dredging to the highest possible navigable standards

So those are the basic points that I want to get over to electors but 150 words doesn’t allow for any explanation so here are a few additional points

By primacy of navigation I mean that although CRT must fully engage with all interests, navigation and the presence of boats are the very essence of the waterways and without them the major attraction will be lost.  The vibrancy, interest, understanding and security of any waterways location is greatly enhanced by the presence of boats. They also ensure that the quality of the waterways is maintained, without them we have all seen the deterioration to a rubbish filled shallow ditch. Hence boaters need to be listened to and must be encouraged to cruise without hindrance.

Heritage is something that I have always been passionate about, as with the first point it is essential that we do not lose it.  Heritage is the link between the commercial carrying days without which nothing would have happened and the leisure use of today, not forgetting the continuing opportunity for freight in the future.  The word ‘total’ in my statement means just that, the canals and rivers, locks and bridges, boats and their traditions and small but vital artefacts; not just a few listed structures. This is why the waterways are unique as a whole.  The National Heritage Group that I am on has had a major influence in ensuring that the difficult balance has been addressed between achieving income from the BW property portfolio and protecting the heritage. I also have responsibility for heritage on the WM Waterways Partnership which has acknowledged it as high on its agenda.    

The case for responsible residential boating is something that I have campaigned for through the Residential Boat Owners’ Association . By ‘responsible’ I mean those who are prepared to live as good neighbours, pay their way within their financial constraints and respect the quality of the environment in which they are privileged to live. RBOA would have hoped for a dedicated residential representative on CRT Council. That has not been the case but if elected, I will do my utmost to make up for this and continue to champion the rights of those who live afloat. I believe that residential boating has much to offer CRT and meets its objective of bringing social inclusion to the waterways..

One of my concerns about the future of the CRT is that successful, well used waterways will prosper and attract more funding whilst less used ones will deteriorate  I will argue that less used waterways need more and not less maintenance or deteriorating navigation standards lead to less boat traffic, leads to worse navigation, lead to ….

Accessible and affordable is not just about everyone being able to own a boat. There are many other ways of encouraging people onto the water; trailable craft, better use of community boats, day boats and camping boats for younger people. I am well aware that affordability is a major concern for many boaters who have supported the waterways for many years, and are now on limited fixed budgets. We cannot expect to be immune from the current financial difficulties facing everyone, but I will try to ensure that increases are kept in line with the cost of living.

My final point relates back to the primacy of navigation.  Reduced maintenance would escalate a deterioration in navigable standards which may be impossible to recover in future years. I see the current lack of dredging as a major challenge facing CRT, all boaters will be aware of this. We must continue to argue for additional government funding and I will also campaign for greater funding from local government and private commerce to recognise the benefits that the waterways provide to their communities.  

Do contact me on ihcaplan@msn.com if you wish to discuss any specific point further.

Ivor Caplan