By Bob Naylor
British Waterways' pilot of its Third Sector plans on the Kennet & Avon Canal has been dealt a blow with the sudden departure of K&A Canal Trust Chairman, David Rees.
Following a K&A Canal Trust Council meeting last week, that Chairman David Rees did not attend, it was learned that he had resigned his position.
As Chairman of the K&A Canal Trust, David Rees was chosen by BW to head up the Local Partnership Board formed with the K&A Canal Trust to run the 87-mile navigation that runs from Hanham on the River Avon near Bristol to Reading on the River Thames.
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David Rees dismissed rumours that the strain of travelling from his home in Devon was the major factor in his departure. He said, "I did about two days a week and I found the travel OK because the K&A follows the line of the Great Western Railway — I didn't find the travel a problem at all."
When asked why he was leaving the K&A Canal Trust he said, "I am not prepared to comment — but these are exciting times for the waterways — and Trusts like the K&A Canal Trust will have a very important role to play in the future."
It was put to David Rees that he has never been greatly involved with canals, to which he responded, "I wouldn't say that — I've got a very strong interest in the rural economy and the waterways are part of the rural economy."
With his departure, unless the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Council aready has a replacement in mind, the Trust could find itself in the same situation it was in after Brian Poulton was ousted with a vote of no confidence in September 2007.
The Trust continued without a Chairman for more than two years until David Rees was chosen following a lengthy recruitment campaign that included advertisements in national newpapers. He was co-opted on to Trust Council on December 15th 2009 and his appointment was endorsed by K&A Canal Trust members at the Trust AGM in June this year.