THE incompetence of CaRT selecting contractors who are equally incompetent just goes to show how totally inept CaRT management really is, writes John Coxon.
Time and again a structure fails only to be 'repaired' by 'our chosen contractors' only for the repair to fail again a short time later.
Jobs end on Fridays
It has been said to me that 'CaRT management' "must realise the contractors are useless and just after the money—the fact they always manage to end a job on a Friday shows that." And I remember the editor stating: "I well remember being at that lock on the Leicester Section that took a week to fit two strips on the gates!"
Keir, CaRT's chosen contractors, are a 'roadworks' company, and I would say they are not very good at roadworks either. [15 months late at upgrading the M1 motorway between sections 28 and 29—Editor.]
The real trouble is, canals are so unique that there are no contractors capable of doing the job with any real skill or experience?
Getting rid of experienced workers
CaRT really cut their nose off to spite their face by getting rid of their in-house experienced workforce. They then compounded the situation by asking some of that same workforce to come back and do their old job as volunteers! This really shows the level of competence of the management at CaRT!
CaRT should have set up a subsidiary company and moved their workforce into it and then contracted them to do the work!
Not only will most of the old workforce not actually volunteer to do the job any more but also refuse to act as advisors because of the way they have been treated!
CaRT have absolutely no idea how to run a business. They stagger from one expensive useless idea to another hoping to somehow stumble across the right solution?
Wrong sort of people
They can't take criticism nor will they accept advice. Too many of the wrong sort of people are on their committees etc. We don't need teams of environmentalists, naturalists, canoeists, cyclists nor blinkered civil servants etc. We need boaters, skilled canal engineers, businessmen etc.
Problem is they won't find many of these people in the civil service nor their old boy networks! With them it seems it's got to be jobs for the boys and jobs for life....with a massive pension to follow?
The amount of money they waste every year redoing the same job on the same lock because it keeps failing in the same way at the same point is staggering!
The state of the network is so poor that we have whole waterways closed for months at a time because there has been no maintenance and small faults that would have taken a couple of hours to fix have been neglected until they become large faults needing weeks of repair time and closure during the height of the season.
Jobs that, a few years ago, would have taken a skilled person a few hours and cost just a few hundred pounds now take weeks, if not months, and cost a few hundred thousand pounds!
Remember the broken lock collar on the Atherstone flight? A job that should have taken a couple of skilled men a couple of hours to fix resulting in some cowboys dropping the gate into the lock which then resulted in a major operation requiring amongst other things, a special crane and a ground surface survey resulting in the flight being closed for well over a week! CaRT, in their wisdom, blamed vandals for the gate dropping? Well at least they got that bit right!
No longer need repair but will be fixed later!
We now have CaRT issuing a list of winter works only to cancel considerable amounts of them stating that they are no longer needed and will be done at a later date? If they are no longer needing repair, why were they on the winter works programme in the first place and secondly, if, as they state, they are no longer needing repair... how come they will need fixing later?
It will be interesting to see how many of these so called un-needed repairs fail, resulting in urgent closures for repairs during the coming season? Well, you can be assured that all will be 'told like it is' as it happens as is usual.
A Happy New Year and a pleasant fun-filled cruising season to all of you. See you on the Cut?