The pri­or­i­ties for restora­tion

Canal Boat - - Letters - LUKE WALKER

Kevin Blick’s col­umn ( CB, Jan) asks a fair ques­tion as to how those canals cur­rently be­ing re­stored will be main­tained. He as­sumes that the fixed amount of money cur­rently spent on main­te­nance will be more thinly spread when there are more wa­ter­ways to keep open.

An­drew Cope ( CB, Feb) sug­gests that the In­land Wa­ter­ways As­so­ci­a­tion would be able to de­ter­mine pri­or­i­ties for restora­tion so that funds are tar­geted onto cer­tain key schemes within the na­tional in­ter­con­nected net­work.

IWA, un­der its char­i­ta­ble ob­jec­tives, is com­mit­ted to sup­port all wa­ter­way restora­tion schemes be­cause, in sim­ple terms, IWA be­lieves that wa­ter­ways bring pub­lic ben­e­fits and are, there­fore, ‘a good thing’ – and more of a good thing is bet­ter.

What IWA’s Restora­tion Com­mit­tee does is en­cour­age pro­po­nents of wa­ter­way restora­tions to con­sider the costs and ben­e­fits of their pro­posal. Each pro­ject has its own set of ben­e­fits which it brings to its lo­cal­ity – not just the boat­ing and the tourist spend but also the pub­lic ac­cess, the cool­ing wa­ter, the safe routes for ser­vice pipes and cables, the storm wa­ter at­ten­u­a­tion, and the im­proved de­vel­op­ment land val­ues from be­ing water­side. For the boat­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, the wa­ter­way op­er­a­tor will re­ceive rev­enue in li­cence fees from boaters.

Most, if not all, of the other ben­e­fits can be used as op­por­tu­ni­ties to bring in ad­di­tional rev­enue. Lo­cal peo­ple who value their wa­ter­way will give ben­e­fit in kind by vol­un­teer­ing to help with main­te­nance.

The re­sources to keep each wa­ter­way open are for each pro­ject to un­der­stand and de­velop – and there’s much more to the mix than di­rect cen­tral govern­ment sup­port.

We en­cour­age wa­ter­way restora­tion or­gan­i­sa­tions to think lat­er­ally about what busi­ness and eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties their pro­ject will bring – and to en­sure that a pro­por­tion of that wealth finds its way into the pro­ject on a con­tin­u­ing ba­sis. It is this ap­proach which will de­ter­mine a sus­tain­able fu­ture for more wa­ter­ways.

Deputy Chair, Restora­tion Com­mit­tee IWA Beau­ti­ful late af­ter­noon along­side @Gran­thamCanal

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