A positive response – and more babies

A lot has been said, both on this site and at the meetings about the negative impacts of the proposals, understandably, people have been pushed onto the defensive by these threats to our homes and lifestyle. However there is a significant amount of feeling that we can also effect change in a positive way.

It has been pointed out that some of the positive change over the last couple of years include; less rubbish on the towpath, more responsible attitudes to dog ownership, tidier boats, more movement, less congestion around visitor moorings – yes BW, I’ll say thaty again, –  less congestion.

Now our assessments, a lot more authorative and indepth than those of Sally Eichmann, show that there are around 160 resident boats (obviously a changing figure but it will suffice for now), 80 official hire boats, around 10 unofficial hire boats and a number of day boats between Devizes and Bath. Add to this Tranquil Rose, Dawn and Dusk and other hotel boats. Then there is an uncounted quantity of weekend boats emerging from marinas and those visiting from further afeild.

This popularity of the Western Kennet and Avon, we assert, is a success story, our canal is growing in popularity, there are a lot of boats, sharing must take place. None of these groups is going to go away.

The conclusion from this is that although the liveaboards have a majority and thus a big say in what goes the other groups have needs too. Particularly identified;

  • Hire boats need easy moorings, they don’t stay long but they don’t have the skills to use long planks on reedy margins.
  • Hotel boats need particular access to 24 hour moorings at major stopping points.
  • Visitors need places to stop within a quarter of a mile of popular visiting places, towns and villages.
  • Local boat-orientated and boat-based businesses need to work on and take deliveries at wharfs.
  • Easy access to boats by local midwives.

So we propose an alternative method of moorings management – a voluntary agreement – gosh.

We will be rolling this out next spring and summer, way ahead of even the very rushed over-complicated proposals from BW.

We will be posting friendly signage, designed using traditional canal art techniques, suggesting that the easily identified visitor moorings, Bath Top Lock, Darlington Wharf and Bathampton Wharf for example, should be left for visitors and legitimate wharfage. We will restrict this to sites where hire boats, visitors and boats needing wharfage actually use rather than the illogical and unenforceable areas with restrictions at present. We hope that most sensible boaters will heed this signage and that we can apply peer pressure to the ones who will abuse it.

It was pointed out at the Bradford-on-Avon meeting by a boat hirer that the Southern Oxford canal has a similar scheme going that is a great success. Banbury, Napton, Oxford itself have become place where, Bank Holidays and suchlike excepted, you can just roll up and find a mooring. Nothing to do with BW’s (mis)managment but a voluntary agreement within the boating community on that canal reinforced by peer pressure.

It is certain that there will still be idiots and selfish gits who will, without trying, mess things up for everyone else but if we can minimise this behaviour then it will make our case, that there is no major problem, stronger. The abusers will become marginilised and fewer,  what problems they do cause will diminish. It might even sway some of the local hire boat firms’ opinions – though don’t hold your breath.

And, of course, that fine honourable tradition of giving birth at Bathampton wharf will be encouraged and validated.

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12 Responses to “A positive response – and more babies”

  1. Paul Biddy MonsterID Icon Paul Biddy says:

    Fin was born at Bathampton. The new born on the canal are true water babies – a true family community we are. A true social community with our own identity and our own expressions.

  2. Richard littlejohn MonsterID Icon Richard littlejohn says:

    James n Nancy are havin a baby any day now and they are moored at Bathampton on Molly Bawn ….Yet another cananl sprite Good luck

  3. Unsavoury Boater MonsterID Icon Unsavoury Boater says:

    This is a brilliant idea 🙂

  4. And hey, Tom! Is there going to be another one then?

  5. I think I can safely say that we all agree with the original posters comments. The baby count is simply an indication of how embedded we are in our way of life. This isn’t an extended holiday jaunt for most of us. We live here. I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of babies ultimately shows us to be the real locals.

    • admin MonsterID Icon admin says:

      It is worth noting that 10% of the reception intake at Bathampton school this year is boatie children and it is likely that this will increase over the next couple of years as there was a baby boom on the canal 4 or 5 years ago.

  6. SimonR MonsterID Icon SimonR says:

    Can’t help with the water baby count!

    The rest of the posting is what this should be about for me – local boaters getting together and working out an agenda on moorings that works well for them. Liveaboards are full time on the water and see and know what works and what doesn’t more than most. Sadly some senior elements in BW think they know better than their paying customers.

    Time will tell whether BW are really up for consultation and improving moorings provision for all or whether, as so many of us belive, they are actually really only interested in trying to justify new ways of harrassing residential boaters into paying more to BW, whether through overstaying charges or making it impossible to live afloat without a home mooring and all the variations, whichever spin of words you want to describe it by. Those in BW leading on this of course do not have a great track record on co-operation – they are of the control freakery through money state of mind as far as I can see.

    A long established BW tactic in my experience is divide and rule the boaters by setting residential boaters against the rest. Money again: the argument that liveaboards are getting something for nothing (rather than as I say, we are doing what we have already paid to do!)

    It is so important as you are trying to do here that we don’t let BW drive that wedege between us – we are all boaters together – liveaboards, hirers, week-enders, commercial boats and all the rest.

    BW may not have been successful at managing the waterways but where the local community asserts itself positively, it surprising what can be done in spite of some people!

  7. admin MonsterID Icon admin says:

    ….and Bev makes 5

  8. Tom Arnold Tarifa MonsterID Icon Tom Arnold Tarifa says:

    This is a great idea. People are so much more likely to adhere to a voluntary agreement that something that BW tries to ENFORCE.
    We were moored at Candy’s bridge when Lorelie was born, and that was a really nice spot. Feel a bit left out though – we should’ve been in Bathampton. Ah well, next time… 🙂

  9. Richard littlejohn MonsterID Icon Richard littlejohn says:

    Fish & Sheila’s baby 4…

  10. Cris Malarchist MonsterID Icon Cris Malarchist says:

    My son was born there too! How many more ? Wasn’t Liz & Blair’s son Sid born there ?
    That would be 3.

  11. Richard littlejohn MonsterID Icon Richard littlejohn says:

    I wonder how many kids have been born at Bathampton either fully or partly? my son didnt set foot on dry land for the frist four weeks after being born at Bathampton wharf. Just like the old days. We have a wonderful and vibrant community which if we can self manage will continue to thrive.