New Waterways Managers at CRT

It’s official, the management of the waterways is no longer CRT’s primary focus, that job has been left to the enforcement team. CRT have appointed a series of Waterways Managers for some of the busiest (as well as the  most controversial) areas of waterways under their control. Not one has any experience at all of management of waterways, not one has any kind of hydrographic engineering background. Not one has any experience of boating.

The press release, dated just in time to avoid being an April Fool states:

The Canal & River Trust has filled four key customer service vacancies. Three waterway managers have been appointed to replace staff who have moved on to other roles and, in addition, a new head of business boating who will oversee the Trust’s dealings with the many waterway businesses across the network has been appointed ahead of Phil Spencer’s retirement this summer.

Waterway Managers

Waterway managers head up the local teams who look after the day-to-day operations of the canals across the Trust’s eleven waterway regions, including working with boaters, waterside communities, and the many clubs and organisations that have a stake in the health of the canals and rivers.

Ian Lane has been appointed as the waterway manager for the West Midlands with immediate effect, covering an area from Leamington Spa to Great Haywood and Stourport to Fazeley. Ian has been acting waterway manager for several months on secondment from his role as a principal engineer at the Trust.

Mark Evans joins the Trust as waterway manager for the Kennet & Avon waterway region, which also includes the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal, from 13 April. Mark has an estates management background and for the last decade has held leadership roles with Groundwork Wales, delivering a wide range of community based projects.

Vicky Martin will be joining the Trust on 20 April as waterway manager for the South East region, covering the area from Rickmansworth and Oxford to Warwickshire and Leicestershire. Vicky is an experienced attractions manager who has worked for a wide range of heritage, countryside and leisure attractions in the Midlands, Yorkshire and Cornwall, and is currently the general manager for the Orbit in the Olympic Park.

Head of Business Boating

Mike Grimes has been appointed as the Trust’s new head of business boating. Mike spent a large part of his career working for British Airways, most recently as head of customer operations at Gatwick, before leaving last year to restore a historic property in the Fens. He will join the Trust on 27 April to allow time for a handover with Phil Spencer before he retires at the end of June after 47 years of service.

We have been very fortunate in the last few years to have Mark Stephens as Waterways Manager. An engineer, who appears to have listened to experts and resident boaters alike, has started to implement a programme of improvements. Now we have to wait to see what skills an ‘estate manager’ will bring to the job.

I suppose we should count ourselves lucky, the South East, with it’s controversial visitor mooring schemes on the Grand Union and Southern Oxford gets a….. theme park manager!

Following from the true CRT April Fool joke, the new illegal and draconian terms and conditions indicating that there is only one acceptable way to boat on our canals;  occasional holiday use, we now have this…..

What on earth makes Richard Parry think this is a team who are going to have the skills to run a transport system rather than simply adding an out of touch, ineffectual and overpaid management layer.

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