...but worries about Wheel
IN ADDITION to worries about the future of the hire fleet, the Scottish Lowland Canals have also been the subject of concerns regarding possible restricted availability of the Falkirk Wheel for boat passages as part of Scottish Canals’ ‘Rotate’ project.
The Inland Waterways Association drew attention during last year’s Scottish Canals Pricing Consultation to “the proposal for a static pontoon to be fitted to one of the caissons of the Falkirk Wheel” for carrying passengers, leaving just one caisson for trip boats, hire-boats and private craft. The Association has said it is “concerned” that SC is still pursuing the concept, and believes that increasing the number of boats on the canals” through hire-boats, trip-boats and affordable boating is “the most effective way to achieve its tourism revenue objectives” – and called on SC to reconsider its position and adopt a long-term strategy to increase boating.
SC has responded that plans are “still at an early design stage” with no decision to be made without customer feedback, that the concept is for a “floating, non-fixed platform” which would be “for use at different times of year” and would “accommodate boat movements”.
The organisation said that if the project is progressed, “Rotate will not change the nature of The Falkirk Wheel or prevent the navigation of the Lowland Canals”, but that the biggest impact would be that boaters would need to “follow the booking procedure which already exists but isn’t always adhered to”.