Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wilts & Berks Canal Trust AGM
East Challow village hall near Wantage was packed yesterday when more than 100 members of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust met for their AGM.

Before lunch and the formal business of the AGM members visited local projects in progress on a 'hop on - hop off' mini-bus service with members of the local East Vale branch on hand to guide and explain the work. In the hall there were exhibitions of projects that other branches are involved with. 
Trust members visited local W&B Canal projects: Pictures by Bob Naylor

In his report to the Trust, Chairman John Laverick looked back over the year ending 31st March 2010 and highlighted significant events:
  • The opening of Double Bridge at Pewsham by the Trust patron, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall.
  • The newly formed Wiltshire Council unitary authority taking on the hosting role of the Wilts & Berks Canal Partnership.
  • The decision by the newly reorganised Partnership to push ahead with the 'Melksham Link' project with the aim of getting a canal, footpath and cycleway from the link with the K&A Canal at Semington into the centre of Melksham by 2014 — to mark the 100th anniversary of the Act of Abandonment of the Wilts & Berks Canal.

John Laverick
Picture by Bob Naylor
John Laverick also spoke of better links with the new local authority saying, "Wiltshire Council has appointed its first Canal Officer, Ken Oliver — and the arrangement is working very well.
     "Before his appointment it was very difficult to get a meeting with officers at WCC - but now Ken just walks down the corridor and knocks on the doors of his colleagues —and he is very persistent."

Questions from members at the meeting prompted discussions on subjects including:
  • The need for maintenance crews to attend to areas already restored to keep them in good order. 
  • Should subscription be raised or not? And the balance between membership retention and income generation. 
  • Should the focus be primarily on finishing off and joining sections together or starting new projects?
East Challow Village Hall, packed for the W&B Canal TRust AGM on Saturday 17 October 2010: Picture by Bob Naylor

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