Voting opens for the Canal & River Trust’s Council
- Credit: Martin Ludgate
A total of 34 candidates are chasing four places to represent private boating, as the four-yearly polls open for the elected places on the CRT’s Council
A total of 34 candidates are chasing four places to represent private boating, as the four-yearly polls open for the elected places on the Canal & River Trust's Council.
The governing body of CRT, which appoints the Trustees that oversee the running of the Trust, is composed of 30 members: some are nominated by organisations such as the Inland Waterways Association, the Ramblers Association and Cycling UK; the six chairs of the CRT regional advisory boards are automatically members; and a number of members are elected.
Those of most interest to Canal Boat readers are likely to be the four representing private boating, and with only one of the current for representatives standing for re-election there will be some new faces on the new Council. All 34 candidates have written election statements, and we include brief quotes from each of them below.
The other elected members are being increased from the current four to seven - or rather there are enough places for seven, but unfortunately nobody stood for election for the one new place representing members of the Friends of CRT. The new representative for fishing has been elected unopposed - it's David Kent, who was already the nominated fishing representative on the current council - while the number of members for volunteering is increasing from one to two.
Representation for CRT staff remains at one member, and for boating business at two members. However this category no longer includes roving traders, who are now covered by the private boating representatives.
All boaters holding CRT 12-month canal or river boat licences will be eligible to vote for the private boating members. Voting takes place online via the CRT website from 20 January to 14 February, with the results announced three days later.
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"We operate an RYA training centre from the boat and hold a Roving Traders' Licence for this purpose. I'm an active member of Thrupp Canal Cruising Club, and also a member of the Royal Yachting Association Inland Navigation Panel."
"I am familiar with the needs and concerns of boaters and actively encourage engagement with the local community and access to this fantastic amenity, to be enjoyed by a diverse range of interests."
"I am a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, a Non-Executive Company Director and act as Clerk to the Governors of a local Academy. I would love to utilise my skills and experience for the benefit of the Trust."
"I believe that I can put a lot of help and time into the boating community, from trying to sort out problems on the canal, locks, services and facilities to looking after the wildlife and nature that is abundant along the canals."
"I am a leisure boater, and I want to do what I can to keep our rivers and canals attractive to leisure boaters. I seek to assist the Trust's efforts and to promote maintenance of the navigation as the primary purpose of the Trust."
"There is a distinct lack of facilities for leisure and permanent boaters. Given the remote technology available today we need to be more innovative and provide improved and better facilities which could be commercially viable."
"Commercial pressures can have negative effect on users and part of my task would be to ensure that you are not thus disadvantaged, whilst ensuring CRT continues to be a viable and stable organisation."
"We have covered about 3,500 miles, almost certainly making us the most experienced electric boaters on the system. As boating's future will inevitably be electric I should like an opportunity to use this experience for the wider good."
"I passionately believe that our waterways are a fantastic leisure, historic and cultural resource, that need to be preserved and maintained for the enjoyment of us all."
"Tracey, otherwise known as 'The Blind Boater' is a liveaboard continuous cruiser. She has actively been working with CRT with a view to 'making life better by water' for those who are less able."
"If chosen I will actively seek views of owners so we can get the best experience from our canals."
"The canal is enjoyed by hire boaters, liveaboards, walkers, cyclists, children, families and wildlife and all need their say. I also feel passionate about the towpath being well-kept, litter free and beautiful."
"I am currently chairman of the Residential Boat Owners' Association. It is my quest to ensure that the waterways, history, the varied businesses, lifestyles and the future will be available for boaters into the future."
"By joining, attending and creating spaces to facilitate conversation we can bridge the information gap between the CRT policy makers and we the canal dwellers."
"My priorities would be educating people on how to enjoy our waterways safely, encouraging local communities to take pride in their particular patch of canal and ensuring regular maintenance of cruising routes."
"I have run a utilities engineering company along with the associated civil engineering works. As such I have an appreciation of the challenges the CRT has in running and maintaining its assets."
"Canal boat ownership in the south-east changed from leisure use to floating homes. This has put the huge pressure on the canal system. I believe that we need to manage the waterways to protect the fragile ecology for us all to enjoy."
"I am a retired MD of a medium sized IT company with previous experience of project management in defence electronics and sonar. I hope that my experience in industry and leisure would be of benefit to the council."
"I would be proactive in CRT's ventures to enhance the waterways, and hopefully advise on the validity of any proposed maintenance with priority and funds allocated to boaters needs, and less on third party, non core business interests."
"I will campaign, as a liveaboard boater, for those things which I consider essential for an enjoyable life afloat. That includes, for example, sufficient and well-maintained facilities, well-maintained and dedicated visitor moorings, trouble-free lock gear."
"I would bring five decades of liveaboard experience to the council role, along with a commitment to champion the interests of those who make their homes on the water and who, through their rising fees, directly contribute to the upkeep of the canal network."
"I believe our network should be maintained in a way that preserves as many of the original buildings as we can possibly keep, to ensure we maintain the heritage of our locks and bridges and allow our individual waterways to keep their 'old world' atmosphere."
Dave Mendes da Costa:
"I want to protect this way of life for everyone. I believe this means keeping the navigation open and in good condition, and challenging the reduction of CRT staff with the knowledge and experience needed to maintain the waterways."
"My aim is to support the redevelopment of commercial freight interest on the Aire and Calder Canal. These commercial connections would help maintain the infrastructure and historic significance of all Yorkshire waterways."
"As a continuous cruiser for the last seven years, my aim on the council would be to represent the needs of other continuous cruisers and liveaboard boaters. Continuous cruisers, in particular, often feel isolated and better opportunities are needed to help them become part of a connected community."
"The issues that concern me the most are the ongoing removal of the facilities, the continued lack of routine maintenance of essential infrastructure and the progressive sale of public assets to the private sector."
"Let us appreciate how hard it is to care for this fragile system. Let us accept that it can be a wildlife corridor and a wildlife refuge, a walkway or a cycle track, a country resource or an urban destination. But let us also make sure that boats can travel our linked network."
"I am a firm believer in the importance of boaters' involvement in monitoring our waterways and for us to offer critical advice, help and support to CRT whenever this is realistic."
"As the chairman of The Boating Association I will bring the ability to promote co-operation and comradeship between all river users and all associated waterways, to ensure the extension, development and improvement of these waterways."
"I cruise the network extensively, trading as The Jam Butty, and this travel provides a broad appreciation of the problems facing all boaters, insights which I can feed back into CRT."
"I have been instrumental in enabling CRT policies to be challenged if they are wrong. As a founder member of the Wide Boat Action Group we are trying to ensure the heritage of all craft is protected."
"Most of each year I cruise the English/Welsh network and have recently completed every canal and most rivers. Regularly I give constructive feedback to CRT managers, which has resulted in many positive changes."
"I have lived on the Kennet and Avon for 2.5 years now and I feel, sometimes, we are misunderstood and misjudged. I would therefore like to support my community to the best of my abilities in any way I can."
Helen Wright (Bilbie):
"I want boaters concerns around towpath improvements, and other canalside developments, to be considered when decisions are taken, and better communication between CRT and boating groups in these matters."