A stoppage a day keeps the boaters away!

Published: Thursday, 20 June 2024

A STOPPAGE a day certainly keeps the boaters away! Writes John Coxon.

So there's chaos on the Trent and Mersey between Kings Bromley and Burton upon Trent at the moment because CaRT have decided to do some dredging along this very busy section of canal, including all the locks, at the height of the cruising season.

Four large marinas

A section of canal that has at least four large marinas feeding it, viz: Mercia, Barton Turns, Fradley and Kings Bromley and covers a section that includes one of the busiest junctions on the system, Fradley.

Who on earth came up with this ridiculous decision? This is a job that cried out to be done in the winter but CaRT's winter works programme is now a standing joke. It seems as if their winter stoppage season starts on the 1st August and finishes on 31st July?

They start off with a long winter stoppage list to lull us into a false sense of security only for it to be whittled away bit by bit until it's nothing like the original list. They even ask us boaters and other users if there will be any problems with anything on the list before they finalise it as they say!

Cancelled, postponed, reassessed

Then the real winter season starts and we are told that this stoppage is cancelled, that work is postponed, another job is being reassessed etc., culminating in a start to the summer season where we see lock beams falling off like autumn leaves, cills breaking apart, gates falling off, collars snapping, and even sections that desperately need dredging to allow boats to pass unimpeded.

A stoppage a day keeps the boaters away! Is that what CaRT are hoping for? They are certainly progressing towards that scenario.

May saw an average of a stoppage a day and June is certainly keeping up the trend. Our esteemed editor once said it looks like a bad day for CaRT. I say that so far it's been a bad year for them and it certainly isn't looking to be getting any better.

CaRT love to blame the weather, boaters, vandals or the fact the system is over 200 years old for all it's problems. In fact they blame anything but themselves! It is apparent to me that the majority of the blame falls upon their shoulders due to their their lack of management skill.

They waste money on pointless projects that don't help maintain the system. They seek popularity from sections of the community that wouldn't care if the canals were there or not and who certainly don't contribute to their upkeep. They then neglect all those who really care and help pay for it to the point where they are potentially driving them away wholesale?

Lack of criticism

The lack of any form of criticism from, what they like to be known as, our national boating groups is deafening. Even when CaRT introduced a questionable surcharge to the licence of a prominent group of boaters the 'nationals' all fell very silent or at the very least only made a token gesture of a complaint.

If boaters don't start standing together and opposing this management system then canal boating will very soon be mentioned in the past tense only.