On the 23rd April GOBA held their AGM at our club and there was some interesting discussions and news delivered. The Chairman Sid Fisher welcomed almost a packed house of GOBA members to the AGM and, some key issues as follows came out of the meeting:
- There was a serious request for volunteers to join the committee as there is a dwindling team and it needs new blood to continue the great service we have all had over the years for such a small annual fee. A number of the officers are doing several jobs now which is unfair on them. Did you know that these guys and gals do sooo much more to try and enhance all of our boating pleasures note below:
- The committee meets every month throughout the year at Hemingford Abbots. Several members also attend regular local and national group meetings on behalf of GOBA and us all and report back to the committee.
– Environment Agency monthly liaison meeting
– National Inland Navigation Forum (NINF)
– Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Eastern Region
– Parliamentary Waterways Group
– Waterways Minister’s Stakeholder Group
– Inland Waterways Panel
– Bedford River Users Group
– Bedford Milton Keynes Trust
– Regional Navigation Group
– Central Area Advisory Panel – Navigation (CAAP)
– Boat Safety Scheme (BSS)
– Little Ouse Extension project
– Nar link project
- Clearly new members of the committee would not be expected to do all of this unless they have the time but, every little help would be appreciated so come on OVRC can you devote a little time to support this great organisation!!!
- It is likely that our annual fee will need to go up after being £18 for many years, this is to be confirmed later in the year.
- There was a request for more GOBA moorings from St Neots up to Bedford, we were advised by the committee that local knowledge is vital so if anyone knows of any land owners that they can talk to it would be helpful?
- We were also advised that we have lost the GOBA mooring at Offord lock, although this is only one boat length it was. the most expensive mooring we have so it was considered not too much of a loss.
- After many years of service our own Ian Cox and former chairman has resigned from the GOBA committee he and his good lady Lin Cox were thanked for all their support over the years.
- Members and officers of the GOBA committee were elected for the ensuing year and with the business of the committee being complete, Richard Parry the CEO of the Canal &a River Trust was introduced.
Richard explained everything they do within the CRT and how the executive team that he oversees manage the everyday operation of the Trust. They develop policy and strategy for approval by the trustees and are responsible for ensuring the continuing success of the waterways through the management of an expert and committed 1,600-strong workforce. Richard explained that they maintain 2,000 miles of canals and rivers, which are often over 200 years old, and are responsible for an enormous network of bridges, embankments, towpaths, aqueducts, docks and reservoirs and more.
His team consult with a number of important advisory groups covering a range of different areas from freight and navigation to volunteering and heritage. He advised that GOBA will be an important partner to help the CRT understand boaters needs on the Great Ouse.
Some interesting stats of what the CRT look after:
- 336 Aqueducts
- 1583 Locks
- 55 tunnels
- 2663 Listed Buildings
- Over 50 Scheduled Ancient Monuments
- 63 sites of special scientific importance
- Over 2000 miles of Canal and River
- 1956 miles of tow paths and riverside walks
Richard then answered questions from the attendees:
- We of course wanted to know how long it might be before the CRT would take over from the Environment Agency? He explained that there was quite a long and complicated consultation period due to a need to understand all of the assets on the Great Ouse and a need to know what they would inherit from the EA. The reality is that it is not likely to be until 2019 when they would be ready to take on the Great Ouse.
- Why would the CRT be any better than the EA in managing the Great Ouse Navigation? Richard explained that the EA’s primary job on the river is flood defence and prevention, navigation is secondary. The CRT would take on the current EA staff that are only dedicated to navigation on the Gt Ouse and will be more focused and dedicated to this end. The CRT will be more proactive in resolving navigation issues rather than all the other issues that the EA have to deal with. Richard did explain that clearly there will be issues that they cannot resolve immediately and it will take time for them to adopt and resolve many of the problems we face on our river; we will just have to be patient.
- PA comment: We are all really looking forward to the CRT taking over the management of our river and I don’t think they can do any worse than the EA do you?
With the whole meeting completed many stayed on for a fabulous slap up meal in the clubhouse and more importantly an opportunity to mix with other boaters from other parts of the river for some great chat and networking.
THANKS TO GOBA FOR A VERY INTERESTING AGM!