You can’t ex­pect us boaters to pick up all the bills

Canal Boat - - Letters -

I have just read Steve Hay­wood’s col­umn in the July edi­tion of Canal Boat and whilst I agree with his ini­tial ob­ser­va­tion as to the widen­ing fund­ing gap for CRT, he ap­pears in the com­plex­ity of his de­scrip­tion of charg­ing by the mile, to be giv­ing cre­dence to the no­tion that this gap can be filled by an in­crease in the amount of money levied on boaters as li­cence fees.

It is my opin­ion that the prob­lem of a crum­bling wa­ter­ways in­fra­struc­ture can­not be solved by in­creas­ing boaters li­cence fees and this is surely well known to C& RT as is per­haps ev­i­denced by the fund­ing be­ing drawn down from var­i­ous char­i­ta­ble trusts for tow­path up­grades, en­vi­ron­men­tal projects and the like.

To be suc­cess­ful in not only pre­serv­ing but de­vel­op­ing a sus­tain­able in­land wa­ter­ways sys­tem for the 21st cen­tury, CRT is yet to fully ex­ploit its char­i­ta­ble sta­tus and the value of the wa­ter­ways for all in defin­ing a char­i­ta­ble pur­pose and agenda that will win the widest pos­si­ble sup­port through do­na­tions from both char­i­ta­ble trusts, com­mer­cial or­gan­i­sa­tions and pri­vate sources.

It must also not lose sight of the prime pur­pose of the wa­ter­ways – nav­i­ga­tion and re­mem­ber that with­out boaters these wa­ter­ways will quickly de­cline to their pre­vi­ous state.

As to the pur­pose of the cur­rent li­cence fee con­sul­ta­tion, this is known only to CRT and we have to ac­cept their rea­sons given. How­ever based on my own con­ver­sa­tions with boaters, ma­rina staff, and com­mer­cial op­er­a­tors I have iden­ti­fied only one group who are dis­con­tent with present ar­range­ments – this be­ing the week­enders who have ma­rina fees as well as li­cence fees to pay each year and be­lieve they are the only group af­fected in this way.

I would sub­mit to them and to CRT that this is not a prob­lem with the cur­rent li­cens­ing sys­tem but sim­ply the price to be paid for not be­ing able to ful­fil the Con­tin­u­ous Cruiser re­quire­ment which should be more oner­ous in terms of the an­nual nav­i­ga­tion dis­tance per­haps by a fac­tor of 10.

We have cruised more than 200 miles al­ready this year de­spite moor­ing the boat in a ma­rina for three months dur­ing the win­ter.

I trust I have said enough to stir the muddy wa­ters of this de­bate and look for­ward to any feed­back in your fu­ture pages.

GRA­HAM ROLLETT, nb KBO via email

Tow­path work, funded from out­side CRT

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