An excerpt from Wind in the Willows

Nice? It's the ONLY thing, said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING - absolute nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing, he went on dreamily: messing - about - in - boats; messing----'
From 'Wind in the Willows' by Kenneth Grahame.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Some thoughts on the new mooring restrictions at Stoke Bruerne

Mooring on the change in Stoke Bruerne?
An E-mail this week has got me thinking about the new mooring restrictions that are being imposed at Stoke Bruerne, Foxton, Thrupp (Oxford) and other 'honey pot' sites around the network.

My thoughts are as follows - they regard Stoke Bruerne but may equally apply to the other seven sites (I understand there has been extensive consultation on the restrictions but communication is always, in my view, whatever industry you are in a real challenge - I am always reminded of the words in the Simon and Garfunkel song which is 'He hears only what he wants to hear and disregards the rest' - I think we all hear what we want probably more often than we care to admit!):
  • There was discussion with representatives from Canal World Discussion Forum prior to any announcement - most of the 'agreement' struck at these meetings may have been ignored.
  • The formal announcement was made just two weeks before the imposition - that's just not enough time to communicate fully and effectively in my view
  • The imposition stinks of 'we know best' and is, in my opinion, a 'heads in the sand approach'
  • This morning (Saturday 10-August) is right in the middle of the school holidays - prime time you would have thought so I undertook a little survey this morning during a 'before breakfast' walk to the tunnel mouth and back.  There was space for two 60' boats on the disabled moorings (you can use those if they are not required for disabled boaters), there was space for a 40' boat just above the old wharf and space for a 70' boat just a wee bit further on.  The area between the winding hole and the tunnel mouth was empty but there was a hire boat in the winding hole!
  • There are no 'regulations' in place for boaters to view the restrictions less than 14 days before they become active
  • I don't understand why this restriction was not trialled at one site first and then reviewed (with feedback from the boaters) before rolling out to the remaining sites
  • On what basis are they going to make a £25 charge for overstaying and what is the process to challenge that charge if they get the index number (for example) of your boat wrong and you have a charge on your record when the boat wasn't anywhere near that location
It strikes me as a situation where some people in CRT have a requirement to achieve something on mooring restrictions in their personal review and come hell or high water they are going to impose something.  I would prefer to have seen a 'proposal' put forward with each licence application/renewal with a date of say 01-January-2015 to put the restrictions in place to give everyone tine to understand and digest the new 'rules'.  Likewise do it at one place only, refine it and get it 'right' and then move the idea to the other 'honey pot' sites with whatever local amendments may be deemed necessary.

It strikes me that this is change for change's sake and to achieve what we used to know in BA as a 'key result area'!

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