Two active Kennet & Avon Canal boaters have thrown their hats in the ring and are standing for election for boaters' seats on the Canal & River Trust Council.
Both Rob Dean and Steve Rudd will be well known to many boaters on the K&A and both are standing for election to represent the interests of all boating users of the waterways.
Rob Dean who has led a small group of members of the Newbury Branch of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust to run the Newbury Waterways Festival in recent years says that he is standing independently rather than as a representative of any organisation so that he can represent the interests of all boaters.
Steve Rudd is never afraid to speak out for interests of boaters — whether it be at a canal user's forum or a public meeting about red diesel. He is active with the Bruce Trust — the Kennet & Avon Canal based charity that operates specially designed and purpose built boats that make it possible for disabled people and their families to have a boating holiday.
The Canal & River Trust Council will have 35 members with four of them elected by 'boat-licence holding' canal users. All BW boat licence holders will be receiving ballot papers in the next few days.
|Rob Dean: Picture by Bob Naylor©|
Our waterways are principally for boats and boaters. It’s great to see the many other users but the experience they come for is only possible because of the boats.
To thrive, the waterways must be navigable and affordable to boaters. The dedicated and hard working individuals who restored the waterways over the last half century were mostly boaters. Today’s boaters have a responsibility to keep the waterways alive.
The CRT is both an opportunity and a threat. Well run, it could avoid the stifling bureaucracy and costs of a government-owned body. And boaters could have more influence in how it is run. But there must be change. It won’t work as BW rebadged and the limited funding available must go into front line services, not expensive management. A charity must be run more cheaply than BW was.
The charity will succeed best if its focus is local. Local boaters, boat clubs and existing canal societies know their waterways better than any national head office possibly can. Head Office should be slim and concentrate on support to local teams who have as much say in the running of their waterway as possible.
- I am a boat owner based on the Kennet & Avon.
- I spend a lot of time boating and really enjoy the waterways lifestyle.
- I work on my own boat and travel as far as each summer has allowed.
- I still have much of the system to explore.
- I have spent 34 years with the Diplomatic Service and now have more time to spend boating and supporting the waterways movement.
- I am qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant so I understand the numbers.
- I have spent the last 5 years as a Board Director so I have a very clear idea of how the CRT can be run without expensive Directors.
- I understand how a charity works because I am ‘hands-on’ active with the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust. I manage the annual Newbury Waterways Festival and am currently focused on helping to set up a Trust Trip Boat operation in Newbury.
- I am standing independently rather than a representative of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust or any other organisation.
- Devote my time and energy to representing all boaters whether they have shiny new boats or rather scruffy ones like mine. Whether they live aboard or only manage a week or two each year.
- Ensure I listen to fellow boaters and faithfully represent their views.
- Play an active role on the CRT Council both in formal meetings and outside. I will hold the Trustees to account for their use of the charities funds, for their stewardship of the waterways, and for their attention to needs of boaters who are the core of the waterways.
|Steve Rudd: Picture by Bob Naylor©|
My introduction to the canals was as a student in Birmingham (1968-1972) where, with a group of friends, we would hire a boat on the Shropshire Union Canal at weekends. Thereafter, with my family we enjoyed many canal and river holidays.
In 1990 I joined the Bruce Trust as a volunteer engineer and for 15 years provided engineering support to its fleet of boats and supported my wife, Danese, who was the Trust Administrator.
For a similar period I (with others) helped organise and run the residential weekend training courses for the Bruce Trust to train the able-bodied helpers that will bring their groups of disabled people on holiday each year. In total I have been a volunteer for Bruce Trust for 21 years.
For the last five years I have also been a part owner in a narrowboat on the K&A (currently on the Oxford Canal).
Since the Heritage Lottery improvement works on the K&A I have observed the gradual decline in the quality of the canal, with equipment inoperable and unrepaired for years on end and the disappointing level of regular maintenance undertaken by BW.
Last summer we enjoyed a week on the Canal du Nivernais in France, and what a joy it was to be on a truly well maintained and cherished waterway. This is what we must aim to achieve with the Canal & River Trust and not simply replicate the gradual decline of standards under BW.
If elected I will do my utmost to ensure that the focus of the Canal & River Trust will be the maintenance and improvement of the waterways.