'And Yes, boats are very important. We know towpath users like to see them. They produce not far off 30% of the gross income. But boats do not pay their way. I'm not suggesting they should. However, it helps to recognise that boats are only part of the picture—and an important part. The Government didn't enter into that 15 year contract because of 35k or so boat owners but because of the 10m or so towpath users, the benefits of regeneration/rural and town economies, health, tourism, heritage etc etc.'
Before I calmed down enough to compose a suitable comment I was beaten by a fellow boater, Graham Bevan.
Bravo Graham - I could not put it better than this
Well John I'll tell you now that I won't be picking up any more rubbish, broken glass or dog poo off the tow path, dragging tree branches, furniture and dead animals out of the lock when the gates won't open or close, dragging shopping trolleys out of the navigation channel, and any rubbish I get round my prop will not be coming aboard through the weed hatch to be disposed of in a responsible manner.
I certainly won't be helping cyclists with my puncture repair kit, tools or bicycle pump! And any visitors who ask me to borrow my BW key so they can use the CaRT toilet can go and whistle!
Your 'pact' with the government and Sustrans to encourage visitors to the canals, particularly commuter cyclists, is based upon a false premise as without the care and diligence of many boaters the canals would just be a number of festering stagnant ditches surrounded by rubbish!
Check out the Coventry Canal where not many boaters go now because of the rubbish and poor facilities and condition of the canal. Look at the surrounding area of Camden locks where there's nothing but broken glass and empty beer cans.
You are obviously sat in an ivory tower, looking at the canals through rose coloured glasses. CaRT are nothing but a management company! Tom Rolt must be turning in his grave!
The government of this country turned its back on the canals after the WWII and it was boaters and canal enthusiasts like Rolt who got the system open and running again. Boaters are the lifeblood of the canal!
We are licence payers and you have an obligation in law to provide a safe and adequate environment—we boaters have given the CaRT a fair opportunity to improve the dire mess that BW left behind.
We put up with badly balanced lock gates, difficult paddle gears, leaking lock walls, loose brickwork, vicious spillways, missing guard rails, submerged masonry etc. etc
We get complimented every day about the condition of our boat. "What lovely flowers," they say!
Anyone that comes into contact with us we say 'you can get involved—just Google the Canal & River Trust' Well no more my friend—As I don't enter into your equation now, so you don't enter into mine!
Your customer, Graham Beven. Narrowboat Maid Of The Mist,