We have had this message from Becks on Pilgrim who travelled to London this summer for work. She found some gorgeous spots along the K and A and enjoyed the Thames, with the lock keepers and big white plastic boats hurtling past. She spent time in a marina in north west London and travelled through the Lee Valley where she found the boating community there welcoming and friendly. She says “I was really keen to talk with the boaters here to get a sense of their problems and it was very interesting. What was more interesting though was that I had a chance meeting with a friend last week who works for the Electorial Reform Service, the organisation that oversees voting in charities and other bodies. My friend is involved in the team overseeing the upcoming elections to the the Council of the Canal and River Trust. Naturally this team is unbiased, but I am so happy that I got a chance to have an open discussion with someone who can actually make sure we get our say and I really wanted to pass on their advice to everyone in our community to make sure we get to stand up for our waterways and way of life.
I cannot stress too highly how important it is that everyone votes in the upcoming elections and that we get the right people to stand up and take action. Out of 35 Council members, 4 will be elected and one nominated from private boaters plus 2 from boating businesses.It will be crucial that whoever stands is prepared for the bureacracy and to see it all the way through, and knows the lingo and the politics, not just the passion. What else is ESSENTIAL is that we all VOTE.
Voting will take place by post between 8 February and 9 March 2012. All BW boat licence holders will get one vote. Shared boats will have one vote per boat.
There will be over 30,000 boaters voting and the first round of voting will be done in a postal vote, luckily we have 4 weeks opposed to the original 2 weeks requested and hopefully they are going to find the funds to put up posters letting everyone know about the elections. But everyone needs to know to check their post wherever it may go so that we all get our votes in on time, this could be a cunning way for BW to get us out of the picture as I know that I sometimes only get my post forwarded every 3 weeks. I don’t know what the others in our community have set up, but we have no time to waste. We have the whole of the K and A and Bristol Harbour where a lot of boats have BW licences. Apparently after the first vote, it will then be changed to an electronic vote. In my opinion this is a ploy to reduce the number of voters, but it will be much more cost effective. If you want to be nominated to the Council, nomination forms will be available from 12 December 2011 and should be submitted by 18 January 2012.
If everyone registers and we work together to make sure we get the right people in surely we can start to make BW work for us? Should we do a mass mailout when the votes do come up so that we can make sure we have our say? The community here in London seem to be working together. It has been a very interesting trip, but I am very much looking forward to making it back onto the K and A in the New Year”.