LCA Management Meetings

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON NAVVIES BARGE ON 27th MAY 2024

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Colin Robertson, Chris Ludlam and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies:- Elspeth Soutar.

1 Finance/Membership

The finances are healthy at present, 1 new member has joined but three have not renewed their membership.

ACTION – Neil to send reminders when membership is about to lapse.

2. LCA Website

Stell has taken over the management of the website. During the meeting the committee reviewed the content of the website and the following changes were suggested.

The payment section should be updated to improve access and allow for automated renewal of subscriptions.

The constitution including the details for the current committee should be updated.

The existing members area should be removed and maybe replaced with some simpler form of Forum for use by members.

The Newsletters links should be rationalised.

The Team section should be removed.

Add last years Flotilla of Lights videos to Events page.

Add a new page for future events.

Simplify the minutes section by using links to each meeting rather than full minutes running sequentially.

Consider adding a new section for reporting Nav and Safety issues which could be linked to SC’s website and summarising successes we have achieved.

Update the text on Contact Us.

Consider adding section for boats for sale.

ACTION – Neil to discuss the handover and ongoing management of the website and webmail as well as the proposed changes with Stella.

It was noticed that the safety certificate for the site had expired and Stella sorted it the next day.

3. Navigation and Safety Committee

The last meeting was held on 13th May and there appeared to be a more positive response to dealing with the outstanding issues.

The discussions on dredging and weed cutting continued and a weed summit was held this morning. Budget is available for dredging on the lowland canals later this year but SC will attend to local issues such as obstructions at Stockingfield Junction. They confirmed that two of the weed cutters have been working for the past 3 weeks and they have completed a first pass along both canals. The third one is being repaired at The Stables and will return to Bowling. It is SC’s intention to operate cutters on the Union Canal 5 days out of 7 and 5 days out of 8 on the F&C. Weed is less of an issue along sections where the charity boats operate regularly. SC are considering training volunteers to operate the equipment but there may be issues with experience and the risk of damage.

No progress has been made on replacing the wooden decking at Spiers Wharf or the visitor mooring at Applecross St, awaiting delivery of more GRP decking in June.

ACTION – Neil to chase up Tommy to confirm the dates.

The Glasgow boaters are still waiting for approval of the protocol for self-operation of the Glasgow bridges. It would appear that the issue relates to a new card..

ACTION – Christine to write to SC to expedite the

SC have undertaken a survey of all facility blocks across the network but have still not provided a copy. Repairs to defective equipment and cleaning will be prioritised.

The next meeting is scheduled for 1st July and will be attended by Neil and Seppi.

ACTION –Neil and Seppi to attend and provide feedback.

4. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

SC are considering reducing the advertised depth of the F&C to 1.65m to allow for the lack of dredging.

The workboat Lochrin is being used by volunteers along the Union for sundry works.

The next meeting is scheduled for 9th July 2024.

Action – Neil to attend meeting and provide feedback.

5. Customer Charter

Mark Smith undertook to arrange a meeting during April to review the charter but it has not yet taken place.

6. User Group Meeting

Minutes were of the meeting were issued by SC with an action plan to resolve identified issues.

ACTION – All committee to review the notes and return comments to Christine so that she can respond to SC.

7. Ghost Ships

There is no sign of boats occupying the berths vacated by Blue Hue and John Hume.

8. SC Website

A letter identifying issues with lack of or incorrect information on their new website was sent to SC who have agreed to review the comments and update the website as appropriate. So far, they have not made many significant changes or additions.

ACTION – Neil to chase Laurie Piper

9. Flotilla of Lights

The 2nd or 9th of November were suggested for this year’s Flotilla, date to be confirmed. Risk assessment, insurance and extra stewards also to be considered.

10. Maintenance Facilities

Lack of proper maintenance facilities is becoming increasingly worrying. There are issues with using the existing facilities at both Seagull Trust sites, the floating dock at Falkirk which does not allow the base plate to be cleaned and blacked and Pierre is going to pull out of the dock in Grangemouth when the crane certification runs out in July. It has been suggested that the old dry dock at Kirkintilloch and the old dry dock at Maryhill could be refurbished but this would be at significant cost and someone would have to take on their management.

There has been no news about the redevelopment of the site at Lock 16 and the proposed construction of a maintenance facility either using a drydock or slipway and straddle carrier. SC are proposing to redevelop Applecross Street but the scope of these works is unclear. Disappointingly, there is no provision for a slipway at the new Winchburgh marina. There was an ongoing discussion about possibly raising a petition.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC.

11 Boat Watch Scheme

Mark Smith has provided a list of contact phone numbers but has not provided any explanation as to the rationale behind the scheme. SC should write to all boaters to explain the aims and limitations of the scheme and add it to their website.

ACTION – Christine to write to Mark Smith and put article in our next newsletter.

12. Revolution Flotilla

The Revolution Flotilla took place at the Falkirk Wheel over the Bank Holiday weekend. 12 boats took part but disappointedly only 5 private boats participated, the remaining places being filled by charity boats. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all.

13 Self Operation of Locks and Bridges

The three training sessions between Locks 17 and 20 were attended by 13 boaters who all reckoned the course was useful. Consideration will be given to further sessions in due course.

There are still issues with the operation of the Glasgow Branch bridges. When the RF card has been updated new boaters will have to attend a training session with a refresher course for those previously trained.

14 Potential Involvement with IWA

It was agreed that the potential involvement with the IWA should be limited to an affiliation rather than LCA taking over their role in Scotland on the basis that we are very small organisation with most of the committee still employed and not able to devote much time to the role. Also, we only represent boaters on the Lowland Canals and would lose our independence and control of our finances. A Zoom meeting with the Trustees of IWA and the committee to decide the way forward was arranged for 30th May.

15. Continuous Cruising

Still awaiting a response from IWA about Continuous cruising which is seen as a way to increase the number of boats and movement on the network. We will review our position when we get their reply.

16. Addresses for Residential Boaters

Seppi explained that residential boaters have experienced issues with post going astray because of a conflict between SC and the Council over the proper identification of their address

ACTION – Christine to ask boaters for their experience when she makes her annual phone around to all members.

17. Mooring Policy

There was further discussion about selling boats and mooring policy. It is well known that some boats are sold with a mooring although SC deny it. Unfortunately, people wishing to sell their boat are not able to contact people on the waiting list who may be looking to buy once they have been given a mooring, resulting in boats being sold off the canal.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC asking for a review of the policy

Harrison Park has been decommissioned as a mooring. The new Winchburgh Marina has been opened but it will only be available for visitor moorings until the facilities block has been constructed.

18 Trophy

Eric Weightman donated a trophy which was used by the Falkirk District Canals Society a number of years ago. We should identify a suitable occasion for it’s use.

19. Next Meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 8th July 2024

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON LADY GALADRIEL ON 15th APRIL 2024

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Elspeth Soutar, and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies:- Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Colin Robertson and Ollie Roe.

1 Finance/Membership

The finances are healthy at present and 1 new member has joined recently.

2.Committee

Sean set up the “What’s App” group for committee members so that simple communications can be transmitted quickly and reliably. It works!

3. Website

There have been concerns that the website needs improving, for example, the section on payment of fees is not user friendly and the constitution needs updating. When the handover has been completed, Stella will revise the website as we want. A Facebook account could also be considered. There was a suggestion that we could set up a blog and include the photos of the flotilla for a start. Neil and Christine will continue with the Newsletter and MailChimp.

Seppi and Pierre reviewed the website but we await a response from Sean and Colin

ACTION – Neil to agree costs for the handover and ongoing management of the website and webmail with Stella.

4. Navigation and Safety Committee

The last meeting was held on 4th March and there appeared to be a more positive response to dealing with the outstanding issues. The discussions on dredging and weed cutting continued and a weed summit was held this morning. SC are unlikely to carry out significant dredging on the lowland canals this year but will attend to local issues such as obstructions at Stockingfield Junction. They confirmed that two of the weed cutters have been working for the past 3 weeks and the third one is being repaired at The Stables. They have completed a first pass along both canals. It is their intention to operate cutters on the Union Canal 5 days out of 7 and 5 days out of 8 on the F&C. They are considering training volunteers to operate the equipment but there may be issues with experience and the risk of damage.

No progress has been made on replacing the wooden decking at Spiers Wharf or the visitor mooring at Applecross St, awaiting delivery of more GRP decking in June.

ACTION – Neil to chase up Tommy to confirm the dates.

The Glasgow boaters are still waiting for approval of the protocol for self-operation of the Glasgow bridges. It would appear that the issues are physical rather than philosophical.

SC have undertaken a survey of all facility blocks across the network and have agreed to provide a copy. Repairs to defective equipment and cleaning will be prioritised.

The next meeting is scheduled for 6th May and will be attended by Neil and Seppi.

ACTION –Neil and Seppi to attend and provide feedback.

5. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The next meeting is scheduled for 23 April 2024.

Action – Neil to attend meeting and provide feedback/

6. Customer Charter

Comments on the Customer Charter from our members were collated and sent to SC. They have undertaken to respond by the end of February. They failed to respond and the issue was raised at the User Group Meeting on 26th March. This was not included in the minutes and Christine has written to Paula to ask for it to be included in the minutes of the meeting along with apologies.

7. User Group Meeting

The meeting held on 26th March reverted back to our preferred format with participants taking part in breakout groups to discuss issues. Minutes were issued by SC with an action plan to resolve identified issues.

ACTION – All committee to review the notes and return comments to Christine so that she can respond to SC.

8. Ghost Ships

The John Hume and Blue Hue have been lifted out of the water and transported down to Hemel Hempstead for refurbishment. Hopefully, SC will now reallocate the moorings to reduce the waiting list and increase their income. Enterprise and Campbell have also been removed.

The formal complaint on Ghost Ships was rejected by the Ombudsman but Scottish Canals were criticised for not following due process in handling our complaint.

9. SC Website

A letter identifying issues with lack of or incorrect information on their new website was sent to SC who have agreed to review the comments and update the website as appropriate. So far, they have not made many significent changes or additions.

ACTION – Neil to chase Laurie Piper

10. Flotilla of Lights

It was agreed that we should look at undertaking a risk assessment as usual and taking out public liability insurance cover before next year’s event. It was also agreed that more stewards should be in attendance. A local councillor has agreed to offer advice regarding insurance and contacts and help us through any difficult procedural issues.

11. Maintenance Facilities

There are increasing problems with a lack of suitable venues for boat maintenance. The slipway at the Stables is already fully booked through 2025 and Pierre announced that he will stop using the facilities in Grangemouth from July this year. Ratho is available for use but there are restrictions which make it difficult to prepare hulls properly prior to painting.

Scott and Neil had a meeting with Mark Smith to look at the old dry dock in Kirkintilloch although there are issues with it’s size and difficulty of access but no feedback yet. The reopening of the old graving dock at Maryhill is also worth investigating but security is the main issue. There has been no news about the redevelopment of the site at Lock 16 and the construction of a maintenance facility. SC are proposing to redevelop Applecross Street but the scope of works is unclear.

Scott has made a case for Seagull Trust to allow boaters to use their dry dock at Southbank since it was constructed with public money and should be available for public use.

ACTION – Pierre to write to SC outlining the issues and requesting their assistance in resolving the issue.

12 Boat Watch Scheme

Christine submitted a response to Mark’s proposal and we await confirmation that our comments are accepted and that the scheme will proceed.

ACTION – Christine to write to Mark Smith

Pierre expressed serious concern that the finger pontoons in Southbank Marina are unstable. During the refloating of Ceinwyn the finger pontoon was disconnected from the linear pontoon and immediately capsized, threatening the diver who was in the water attending to the boat. SC were aware of this instability since they experienced similar issues when they were being installed but did not mention it to Pierre when he was preparing the Risk Assessment and Method Statement.

ACTION – Pierre to forward correspondence and draft a note for LCA to send to SC.

13. Revolution Flotilla

Arrangements for the Revolution Flotilla at the Falkirk Wheel over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May are progressing. 15 boats have signed up already and it is hoped to attract even more. Consideration should be given to LCA providing funds for catering for the evening get together which will be held on board Voyager and St Michael rather than in the café.

ACTION – A reminder is to be included in the newsletter.

14 Self Locking

The first training session on 12th April was attended by 7 volunteers from The Sorted Project and went well in spite of the very strong winds which made boat handling difficult. Two further sessions have been organised on 24th April and 19th May.

15.Meeting at Holyrood

The meeting at the Parliament Building with the Transport Secretary, MSPs, the CEO and COO of Scottish Canals and members of the boating community to raise issues of concern across the whole network has been postponed. No alternative date has been offered yet. Consideration should be given to inviting Charlie Bird of RYAS when then the meeting has been rescheduled.

16 Potential Involvement with IWA

Jonathan Mosse explained the role of the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) South of the boarder. It was established about 70 years ago with the primary aim of encouraging the leisure use of canals, maintaining existing canals and reopening abandoned canals. It has a good reputation and status within the boating community as a campaigning and practical organisation. The volunteer members are affiliated to regional branches looking after canals in their area and they raise their own funds. At present, there is no branch in Scotland although there are 164 Scottish members but no information about their location. They are affiliated with the nearest branch in Cumbria/Lancaster.

They also run a Waterways Recovery Group (WRG) run by volunteers which organise work camps to tackle specific issues as required anywhere across the country. They do like to work with local volunteer groups to encourage and support them. Twice they have offered to take SC down to one of their work sites to demonstrate the work they are capable of. However, SC has pulled out at the last minute but this offer is still on the table. SC were also offered the opportunity to sponsor a work camp this year which could perhaps have cut down the sheet piling at Dundas Wharf or installed bywashes on some of the locks beyond Maryhill. This offer was rejected.

Jonathan is currently the IWA representative in Scotland and is looking to step down although he would still be available for consultation. He has suggested that LCA should affiliate with IWA and become their Scottish branch since we basically carry out similar roles as their branches in terms of campaigning on behalf of our members. The benefits of association include:-

  • The legal and technical skills of the IWA would be available to us
  • They would be able to help resolving issues with SC

The commitment would involve:-

  • Attending the three monthly meetings of the Navigation Committee.
  • Possibly attending an annual Trustees Meeting.

The disadvantages would be:-

  • Finding sufficient members to run the larger organisation effectively.
  • We are not prepared to get involved in issues on the Crinan or Caledonian Canals.

In order to take this forward, we need to understand the implications and responsibilities so we should consider the issues, prepare a list of questions to be raised and review the IWA website. It would also be useful to have a discussion with one of the trustees.

Jonathan has discussed the subject with Neil Edwards, the Secretary to the Trustees and former CEO who has written a short note identifying two alternative ways forward. He is prepared to meet the committee on a Zoom link to discuss the issues. This item is to be held over till the next meeting

ACTION – Neil to forward Neil’s note to the committee for consideration and a decision whether to progress the issue or not.

ACTION – All committee members to review the IWA website and prepare questions.

17. Continuous Cruising

Continuous cruising (CC) is seen as a way to increase the number of boats and movement on the network. A sub-committee including Colin Robertson has produced a paper outlining his interpretation of the legal status of CC which concludes that SC are obliged to accept it. The paper was sent to the legal department of RYAS but no response received yet. It is accepted that the license fee for CC would be significantly higher that the £239 currently charged to all boaters with a mooring.

ACTION – Jonathan to chase up RYAS for a response.

For information, the IWA are 100% behind legitimate continuous cruising, abiding by the rules set out in the 1995 Act.

18. Price Increases

SC have rejected the complaint from boaters in Edinburgh that the increases in their mooring fees are excessive on the grounds that they are in accordance with the pricing review.

19. Addresses for Residential Boaters

Seppi explained that residential boaters have experienced issues with post going astray because of a conflict between SC and the Council over the proper identification of their address. A proper address is also essential for formal documentation such as right to vote, passport, driving licence etc and SC do not appear to appreciate the significance of this. SC have provided post boxes at some locations but not all.

ACTION – All to review status at their location and report back.

20. Mooring Policy

There was a long discussion about selling boats and mooring policy. Unfortunately, boat sellers are not able to contact people on the waiting list who may be looking to buy once they have been given a mooring.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC asking for a review of the policy

21. Next Meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 20th May 2024

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON THE NAVVIES BARGE ON 26th FEBRUARY 2024

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Colin Robertson, Jonathan Mosse and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies:- Pierre Potel, Elspeth Soutar and Ollie Roe.

1 Finance/Membership

The finances are healthy at present and 2 new members have joined recently. Letters have been sent to a further 6 members whose subscriptions have lapsed and so far 2 have responded positively.

2.Committee

Sean set up the “What’s App” group for committee members so that simple communications can be transmitted quickly and reliably. It works!

3. Website

David Potter has decided to retire and arrangements are in hand for Stella Aster to take over the website. David has removed software associated with the advert platform which seems to have improved visibility of the site on Google. Neil and Christine will continue with the Newsletter and MailChimp.

ACTION – All committee members to review the existing website and respond to Neil with recommendations for changes and improvements.

When the handover has been completed, Stella will update the website as we want. A Facebook account could be considered. There was also a suggestion that we could set up a blog and include the photos of the flotilla for a start. The costs for the handover and ongoing management of the website and webmail are to be agreed with Stella.

ACTION – Neil to chase progress on the handover and review the proposed changes with Stella.

Bev will continue with the financial issues, Christine and Neil also have access to the account.

4. Navigation and Safety Committee

The last meeting was held on 29th January and there appeared to be a more positive response to dealing with the outstanding issues. The discussions on dredging and weed cutting continued. SC are working on a national plan for dredging and they confirmed that it is their intention to repair all 4 weed cutters which are currently out of action before Easter so that they can make a strong early start and keep on top of the problem.

ACTION – Neil to chase SC for a copy of the plan and pass it on to member for comment.

No progress has been made on replacing the wooden decking at Spiers Wharf or the visitor mooring at Applecross St, awaiting delivery of more GRP decking in June.

ACTION – Neil to chase up Tommy to confirm the dates.

The Glasgow boaters are still waiting for approval of the protocol for self-operation of the Glasgow bridges. It would appear that the issues are physical rather than philosophical.

Removal of trees blown down in the recent storms has been passed to a contractor and sinking boats is an ongoing problem.

SC have undertaken a survey of all facility blocks across the network and have agreed to provide a copy. Repairs to defective equipment and cleaning will be prioritised.

The next meeting is scheduled for 4th March and will be attended by Neil and Seppi.

ACTION –Neil and Seppi to attend and provide feedback.

5. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The next meeting is scheduled for 19th March 2024.

Action – Neil to attend meeting and provide feedback/

6. Customer Charter

Comments on the Customer Charter from our members were collated and sent to SC. They have undertaken to respond by the end of February. The comments submitted were copied into the last newsletter.

7. User Group Meeting

Following the difficulties with the composite User Group meeting held on Tuesday 7th November we have recommended to SC that we revert to the format of the meeting held last March, which was very successful. 3 breakout groups to discuss their concerning issues, followed by a session to ascribe actions to both sides which will be jointly chaired by Sean and SC. Minutes will provide an action plan to resolve identified issues.

The next meeting is shown on the SC website on Tuesday 26th March. However, SC have not formally notified boaters about the meeting in spite of the issue of their boaters’ newsletter yesterday. Neither have they published minutes of the last meeting.

ACTION – Neil to remind SC to send out an official invite to the meeting and include it in our newsletter.

8. Ghost Ships

It would appear that SC have sold the John Hume and Blue Hue for an undisclosed sum. They are due to be lifted out of the water this week and sent down to London. Hopefully, SC will now reallocate the moorings and reduce the waiting list and increase their income.

The formal complaint on Ghost Ships was rejected by the Ombudsman but they were criticised for not following due process in handling our complaint.

9. SC Website

A letter identifying issues with lack of or incorrect information on their new website was sent to SC who have agreed to review the comments and update the website as appropriate. So far, they have not made many significent changes or additions.

ACTION – Neil to chase Laurie Piper

10. Flotilla of Lights

It was agreed that we should look at undertaking a risk assessment as usual and taking out public liability insurance cover before next year’s event. It was also agreed that more stewards should be in attendance. A local councillor has agreed to offer advice regarding insurance and contacts and help us through any difficult procedural issues.

11. Maintenance Facilities

There are increasing problems with a lack of suitable venues for boat maintenance. The slipway at the Stables is already fully booked through 2025 and Pierre announced that he will stop using the facilities in Grangemouth from July this year. Ratho is available for use but there are restrictions which make it difficult to prepare hulls properly prior to painting.

Scott and Neil had a meeting with Mark Smith to look at the old dry dock in Kirkintilloch although there are issues with it’s size and difficulty of access but no feedback yet. The reopening of the old graving dock at Maryhill is also worth investigating but security is the main issue. There has been no news about the redevelopment of the site at Lock 16 and the construction of a maintenance facility. SC are proposing to redevelop Applecross Street but the scope of works is unclear.

ACTION – Pierre to write to SC outlining the issues and requesting their assistance in resolving the issue.

12 Boat Watch Scheme

Following Richard Millar’s proposal, Mark Smith prepared a report outlining SC proposal for the Boatwatch scheme to help to minimise the number of boats which become dangerous and sink. SC would provide pumps, spill kits and safety equipment at each of the mooring sites. In principle, the committee thought the idea was helpful but were worried at the degree of involvement by boaters. There were concerns that boaters could injure themselves or damage the equipment and the boat they were trying to salvage. The procedure for contacting SC should be clear and unambiguous.

ACTION – Christine to draft a response to the proposal and pass it around the committee for approval before sending it to SC.

13. Revolution Flotilla

The Festival of Water at the Falkirk Wheel over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May has been renamed the Revolution Flotilla. Details of the event are being prepared, 10 boats have signed up already and it is hoped to attract even more.

ACTION – A reminder is to be included in the newsletter.

14 Self Locking

Options for training dates have been sent to Tommy and we are awaiting confirmation of dates which suit SC.

ACTION – Neil to chase Tommy Thomson for dates and advise members accordingly.

15.Meeting at Holyrood

The meeting at the Parliament Building with the Transport Secretary, MSPs, the CEO and COO of Scottish Canals and members of the boating community to raise issues of concern across the whole network has been postponed. No alternative date has been offered yet. Consideration should be given to inviting Charlie Bird of RYAS when then the meeting has been rescheduled.

16 Potential Involvement with IWA

Jonathan Mosse explained the role of the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) South of the boarder. It was established about 70 years ago with the primary aim of encouraging the leisure use of canals, maintaining existing canals and reopening abandoned canals. It has a good reputation and status within the boating community as a campaigning and practical organisation. The volunteer members are affiliated to regional branches looking after canals in their area and they raise their own funds. At present, there is no branch in Scotland although there are 164 Scottish members but no information about their location. They are affiliated with the nearest branch in Cumbria/Lancaster.

They also run a Waterways Recovery Group (WRG) run by volunteers which organise work camps to tackle specific issues as required anywhere across the country. They do like to work with local volunteer groups to encourage and support them. Twice they have offered to take SC down to one of their work sites to demonstrate the work they are capable of. However, SC has pulled out at the last minute but this offer is still on the table. SC were also offered the opportunity to sponsor a work camp this year which could perhaps have cut down the sheet piling at Dundas Wharf or installed bywashes on some of the locks beyond Maryhill. This offer was rejected.

Jonathan is currently the IWA representative in Scotland and is looking to step down although he would still be available for consultation. He has suggested that LCA should affiliate with IWA and become their Scottish branch since we basically carry out similar roles as their branches in terms of campaigning on behalf of our members. The benefits of association include:-

  • The legal and technical skills of the IWA would be available to us
  • They would be able to help resolving issues with SC

The commitment would involve:-

  • Attending the three monthly meetings of the Navigation Committee.
  • Possibly attending an annual Trustees Meeting.

The disadvantages would be:-

  • Finding sufficient members to run the larger organisation effectively.
  • We are not prepared to get involved in issues on the Crinan or Caledonian Canals.

In order to take this forward, we need to understand the implications and responsibilities so we should consider the issues, prepare a list of questions to be raised and review the IWA website. It would also be useful to have a discussion with one of the trustees.

ACTION – All committee members to review the website and prepare questions.

ACTION – Jonathan to make contact and arrange a mutually convenient time. A Zoom meeting may be easiest.

17. Continuous Cruising

Continuous cruising (CC) is seen as a way to increase the number of boats and movement on the network. A sub-committee including Colin Robertson has produced a paper outlining his interpretation of the legal status of CC which concludes that SC are obliged to accept it. The paper was sent to the legal department of RYAS but no response received yet. It is accepted that the license fee for CC would be significantly higher that the £239 currently charged to all boaters with a mooring.

ACTION – Jonathan to chase up RYAS for a response.

For information, the IWA are ambivalent about continuous cruising.

18. Next Meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 15th April 2024

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON THE NAVVIES BARGE ON 22nd JANUARY 2024

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Elspeth Soutar and Colin Robertson, Scott Castel and Neil Kitchener.

1 Finance/Membership

The finances are healthy at present and 3 new members have joined recently. Letters have been sent to a further 5 members whose subscriptions have lapsed and so far 2 have responded positively.

2.Committee

Sean proposed that Ollie Roe should be invited to join the committee. The motion was seconded by Seppi and agreed by the whole committee.

It was agreed that Sean should set up a “Whats App” group for committee members so that simple communications can be transmitted quickly and reliably.

3. Website

Neil has contacted David Potter about the concerns over the website and is awaiting a response. Concern was expressed that the website needs updating. A forum section is an option to be considered. An overhaul of the website with a blog for the Flotilla of Light is a possibility.

ACTION – Neil to make contact with John to review the options offered by David.

4. AGM

The AGM was held on 28th November and the minutes have been published on the website.

5. Navigation and Safety Committee

The last meeting was held on 6th November. The discussions on dredging and weed cutting continued with no obvious changes, ie lack of financial and staff resources. However, SC have stated that it is their intention to repair all 4 weed cutters which are currently out of action before Easter so that they can make a strong early start and keep on top of the problem. Following our Freedom of Information Request, they do seem to appreciate that the effect of weeds on navigation is seriously damaging their reputation and credibility.

Their responses to the FOI Request on weeds were forwarded to the committee and put in the newsletter

No progress has been made on replacing the wooden decking at Spiers Wharf or the visitor mooring at Applecross St.

The Glasgow boaters are still waiting for approval of the protocol for self-operation of the Glasgow bridges. It would appear that the issues are physical rather than philosophical.

The siting of safety ladders at mooring sites is unresolved. With the approach of winter this should receive a higher priority.

The meeting scheduled for 15th January was postponed till 29th January due to sickness and holidays of SC staff. 6 meetings are scheduled for each year, one every two months

ACTION –Neil and Christine to attend and provide feedback.

6. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

Dredging and weed cutting were the major subjects discussed at the last meeting on 4th October. The next meeting is scheduled for 19th March 2024.

Action – Neil to attend meeting and provide feedback/

7. Customer Charter

A draft of the Customer Charter was received and circulated to all our members and other interested parties. Comments have been returned, they will be collated and passed on to SC. A copy of our comments will be put into the next newsletter. Thanks to everybody who contributed comments.

8. User Group Meeting

The composite User Group meeting held on Tuesday 7th November attended by 30 people was not very satisfactory since there was a very low turnout from SC and they were not properly prepared for the meeting. The video link was unsuitable for the size and layout of the room and although 3 SC staff were connected it was difficult to hear what they said and they had difficulty hearing questions from the floor. Boaters who tried to use the link found it very inadequate and in some cases could not even log on..

There was a suggestion that the next meeting should be held on a Saturday morning rather than a midweek evening. We sent out a questionnaire to members which resulted will be 50/50 split so the committee decided that a face to face midweek meeting at the Falkirk Wheel, preferably with no video link and full on site attendance from SC would be best. If this is not successful, then a Saturday session will be considered.

The format of the meeting will be the same as the first time which was successful. 3 breakout groups to discuss their concerning issues, followed by a session to ascribe actions to both sides which will be jointly chaired by Sean and SC. Minutes will provide an action plan to resolve identified issues.

9. Ghost Ships

It would appear that SC have sold the John Hume and Blue Hue for an undisclosed sum. They are due to be lifted out of the water this week and sent down to London. Hopefully, SC will now reallocate the moorings and reduce the waiting list and increase their income.

The formal complaint on Ghost Ships is still being processed by the Ombudsman and boaters will be notified of the outcome.

10. SC Website

A letter identifying issues with lack of or incorrect information on their new website was sent to SC who have agreed to review the comments and update the website as appropriate. The absence of Robin’s paper on Navigation Protocols for Canal Users was included in the list.

ACTION – Neil to chase Laurie Piper

11. Flotilla of Lights

The Flotilla of Light was a great success, attended by 14 boats as well as the fleet of model boats. The party afterwards held on All Aboard was enjoyed by everyone. In view of the money received from SC, EUCS and donations on the towpath, we paid all the private participants £30 towards their expenses which was gratefully received. We will have to review the finances next year to see whether or not we can repeat the payment.

Christine Mckay manned a stall at Harrison Park next to the EUCS stall to publicise the LCA and EUCS displayed one of our banners on their boat house. She marshalled the boats at the start and was ably assisted by three members who acted as stewards along the bank keeping their eye on the spectators.

The photo competition attracted over 100 photos and the judging was challenging but eventually three photos were awarded a prize. The video of the flotilla has been circulated and will be put on the Newsletter.

It was agreed that we should look at undertaking a risk assessment as usual and taking out public liability insurance cover for next year’s event. It was also agreed that more stewards should be in attendance. A local councillor has agreed to offer advice regarding insurance and contacts and help us through any difficult procedural issues.

12. Restrictions to Navigation

The boaters at the Kelpies have received compensation for restriction to navigation last year but this has not been published on the website.

13. Maintenance Facilities

There are increasing problems with a lack of suitable venues for boat maintenance. The slipway at the Stables is already fully booked through 2025 and Pierre announced that he will stop using the facilities in Grangemouth from July this year. Ratho is available for use but there are restrictions which make it difficult to prepare hulls properly prior to painting.

There was a discussion about encouraging Forth and Clyde Canal Society to provide a generator and pressure washer at the stables.

Scott said that he is looking into the possibility of using the old dry dock in Kirkintilloch although there are issues with it’s size and difficult access. The reopening of the old graving dock at is also worth investigating Maryhill, provided the site can be made secure. Queries were also raised about the provision of fuel, disposal of waste and maintenance facilities at new marinas such as Winchburgh.

ACTION – Pierre to write to SC outlining the issues and requesting their assistance in resolving the issue.

14 Neighbourhood Watch

SC are concerned at the number of boats which have sunk this year and have asked us to consider encouraging the establishment of Neighbourhood Watch schemes with SC providing pumps and safety equipment at each of the mooring sites. Christine has asked Richard Millar for a summary of their proposal for review by the committee. This was not available, so a general discussion ensued about the suddenness of boats sinking and the subsequent pollution of the canal. It was agreed to hold over full discussion until SC provide the details of the scheme.

ACTION – Christine to chase Richard Millar for an outline of the proposal.

15. Festival of Water

The Forth and Clyde Canal Society are planning to organise a Festival of Water at the Falkirk Wheel over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May. This would coincide with the Wheel’s annual Revolution Festival and celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of John Smeaton who designed the F&C Canal. Scott Castel from the Forth and Clyde Canal Society attended the meeting to facilitate discussion of the event. It is hoped to attract boats from all four arms of the Canal, Edinburgh, The Kelpies, Glasgow and Bowling. Details are being finalised at present but it is hoped to include boat trips along the canal, a best dressed boat competition, events in the basin, an evening event in the visitor centre for participants and lots more besides.

ACTION – Christine, Scott and Neil to attend meeting with SC tomorrow to review options Information to be included in the newsletter.

16 Self Locking

Scott stated that F&CCS want their members trained to operate locks and bridges wherever possible and are prepared to offer Gypsy. Christine and Neil are happy to use Duckling for training on Locks 16 to 20.

ACTION – Neil and Scott to agree dates with Tommy Thomson and advise members accordingly.

17.Meeting at Hollyrood

A meeting has been arranged at the parliament Building with the Transport Secretary, MSPs, the CEO and COO of Scottish Canals and members of the boating community to raise issues of concern across the whole network.

18 Dehumidifier

An industrial dehumidifier is available for use by members who should contact Neil Kitchener (07802 320958) for further information.

19. Next Meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 26th February 2024

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON THE NAVVIES BARGE ON 9th OCTOBER 2023

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies:- Elspeth Soutar and Colin Robertson

1. Structure of the Committee

Concern was expressed that the website needs updating. A forum section is an option to be considered. Sean has discussed the website with the developer of the Navvies Barge website and he has provided a brief summary of the options available.

ACTION – Neil to make contact with John to review the options.

2 Finance/Membership

The finances are healthy at present and 2 new members have joined recently. Letters have been sent to a further 7 members whose subscriptions have lapsed and so far 3 have responded positively.

The system for paying subscriptions through the website appears to be working better now and has been used by the new members.

The current email distribution list includes a number of members who have not renewed their subscriptions for some time. It was agreed that their names would be removed after being notified.

3. AGM

It was agreed that the AGM will be held on 28th November. The Forth and Clyde Canal Society have offered their meeting room in the SC office at Kirkintilloch Marina.

ACTION – Christine to confirm arrangement with Scott Castel and include an invitation to members in the newsletter.

4. Navigation and Safety Committee

The last meeting was held on 4th September. There was a long discussion about lack of progress on dredging which has been plagued by lack of financial and staff resources. It is apparent that no dredging will take place this financial year, in spite of continued complaints from boaters about shallow water.

Weed cutting has also been seriously affected by lack of financial and staff resources as well as mechanical breakdowns and navigation through some sections of the canal is very difficult. We have submitted a Freedom of Information Request to get SC to understand the scale of the problem. A copy was sent to the committee members, SWfA and other organisations along the canal. Their answers will be forwarded to the committee and put in the newsletter. It was considered that weeds could create a threat to the life for paddle boarders.

No progress has been made on replacing the wooden decking at Spiers Wharf or the visitor mooring at Applecross St.

The Glasgow boaters are still waiting for approval of the protocol for self-operation of the Glasgow bridges. It would appear that the issues are physical rather than philosophical.

We have also raised the issue of trees and undergrowth blocking the canal. The Sorted Project are dealing with trees at the East end of the Union and the Forth and Clyde Canal Society are dealing with trees in the Bishopbriggs area. We will ask for feedback.

The siting of safety ladders at mooring sites is unresolved. With the approach of winter this should receive a higher priority.

SC agreed to set up a meeting to review the potential canal closures throughout the winter once their programme has been finalised but the date has not been confirmed yet.

ACTION – Neil to chase SC for the date.

SC commented that a number of boats have sunk this year and the insurance cover does not include for refloating the vessel and dealing with resulting third party costs. If the owners cannot or refuse to pay for refloating etc, then SC have to take possession of the vessel and refloat it. They probably lose money because the value of the boat when they sell it will be severely reduced by water damage.

ACTION – Neil to include a note about insurance cover in the newsletter.

The next meeting of the Nav and Safety Committee is scheduled for 6th November.

ACTION –Neil and Seppi to attend and feedback.

5. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The AGM was held on 4th October. Pat Bowie stood down as chairperson and Graham Harvey was voted in, Neil Kitchener is still the vice chairman. SC confirmed that following receipt of our FOI on weeds, they set up an internal weed conference attended by all staff involved in the operation. They undertook to arrange a meeting with all interested parties to pass on their conclusions.

Lack of dredging was raised by a number of the committee and SC confirmed that no dredging was planned till next financial year.

There was a brief discussion about SWfA arranging a flotilla at Falkirk in the summer to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the birth of John Smeaton who built the Forth and Clyde Canal.

6. Customer Charter

SC has still not provided any details of the Customer Charter which was promised following the pricing review last year covering issues such as substandard facilities, restrictions to navigation and public use of boater’s facilities. It will set out what remedies will be applied in the event of failure by SC to honour their obligations. Still no proposal received from SC. This will be raised at the User Group meeting.

7. User Group Meeting

The next user Group meeting scheduled for Tuesday 7th November will be a face to face meeting at the Falkirk Wheel. It was agreed that it would be useful to contact all members before the meeting to assess what important issues they would like raised so committee members will ensure that the most significant items are discussed at the meeting. Since we managed to change the meeting from Zoom we should endeavour to encourage good attendance at the meeting by including a note in the newsletter.

The format of the meeting will be the same as last time with 3 breakout groups discussing their concerning issues, followed by a session to ascribe actions to both sides which will be chaired by Sean.

ACTION – Sean to send a survey questionnaire to members asking for issues to be discussed.

8. Moorings

There appear to be six empty moorings in Edinburgh but SC claim that they have all been allocated even though the berths are not occupied at present.

9. Ghost Ships

The formal complaint on Ghost Ships was sent to the Ombudsman who replied that SC had not properly rejected our formal complaint. Christine has tried to get SC to make a formal rejection but no firm answer yet.

ACTION – Christine to contact SC to expedite their rejection so that she can make a further submission to the ombudsman.

10. Paddle Boarders

Christine forwarded Robin’s paper on Navigation Protocols for Canal Users to SC for inclusion on their website some months ago. Laurie Piper stated that it will be put on the new website with credits to Robin but it has not been added yet.

ACTION – Christine to chase Laurie Piper

11. Flotilla of Lights

November 4th is confirmed as the date for this year’s Flotilla and arrangements are progressing. So far 15 boats have signed up, including 4 charity boats. The model boat club have offered to join in the proceedings like last year The leaflets have been printed and will be delivered to schools and other publicity outlets by Pierre and other committee members.

ACTION – Neil to reimburse Christine Mckay.

It was agreed that Pierre could spend £250 on fireworks and charcoal for the barbecue at Linsmill.

When the flotilla arrives in Lochrin Basin, Pierre has arranged for All Aboard to be used to host the party for the presentations. Food and drink will be provided. Rachel Stedman will provide soup and bread and Christine will buy the food and wine.

We wrote to the Millennium Trust about a donation to support the flotilla but the request was rejected. However, SC have offered to give us £700 to help defray costs for the event. It was agreed that each private boater will be offered £30 towards their expenses for fuel, decorations and sweets.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC expressing thanks for the money.

ACTION – Bev to send invoice to SC so funds can be transferred.

Last year, there was little or no appreciation by the public that LCA had organised the event since it coincided with the light show organised by SC and EUCS organised a stall selling drinks and food. Apart from the flyers, there was only one LCA banner on show. This year, we must make an attempt to increase our publicity and display banners etc. We have three and they should all be displayed in prominent positions such as Harrison Park and Leamington Bridge.

ACTION – Pierre to contact EUCS to see whether they are willing to make a small donation from their takings at their stall.

Maybe also find volunteers to man a stall to sell drinks etc to raise funds as well as acting as marshals on the towpath to minimise the risk of children falling in the water trying to retrieve sweets. A request for volunteers will go in the Newsletter.

12. Continuous Cruising.

Work on a paper about continuous cruising is in progress.

ACTION – Christine to progress report.

13. Supply of Fuel from SC

A member has complained that boaters purchasing diesel from SC at the Kelpies are only allowed to fill one container at a time which is very inconvenient. Neil checked and government regulations limit sale of fuel in cans to 20litres.

14. Restrictions to Navigation

The boaters at the Kelpies are aggrieved that issues with the locks up to the Wheel and both sea locks have severely restricted their ability to move their boats. They intended to write to SC requesting a reduction in their navigation license fee as compensation. Christine and Neil met with them and advised them to complain direct to SC and provided contact names. If SC’s response is inadequate, then the LCA will take up the issue on behalf of LCA members.

15. Rovers Ticket

After receiving the response from SC about the Rovers Ticket, further questions have been raised. The response has been forwarded to committee members for comments and possible actions.

16. Maintenance Facilities

There are increasing problems with a lack of suitable venues for boat maintenance. The slipway at the Stables is already fully booked for 2024, there are problems with boats accessing the shipyard on the River Carron in Grangemouth because of access problems caused by breakdown of the locks and the floating dock at Falkirk is not expected to be recommissioned till sometime next year. Although the Seagull Trust drydock at Ratho is available for use, there are restrictions which make it difficult to prepare hulls properly prior to painting.

LCA have written to SC and SC have provided a summary of their view of the available facilities.

There was a discussion about encouraging Forth and Clyde Canal Society to provide a generator and pressure washer at the stables. Maybe LCA could subsidise this in exchange for a rebate for members who use the slipway.

17. Crinan Canal Article

The newspaper article from the Herald and letters were sent round the committee for information.

18. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be an informal meeting prior to the User Group meeting and will take place in Falkirk

The next formal meeting will be arranged after the AGM which is scheduled for 28th November.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD IN LENNOXTOWN ON 28th AUGUST 2023

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Elspeth Soutar and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies :- Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser and Colin Robertson

1. Structure of the Committee

We are piloting a scheme for members to attend Committee Meetings to raise issues relevant to them. We are also breaking down the tasks to spread the workload such as vetting the incoming mail, managing the membership list and liaising with other agencies as required. In the meantime, Neil and Christine will manage.

ACTION – A request for help will be included in the newsletter.

Concern was expressed that the website needs updating. A forum section is an option to be considered. Sean has discussed the website with the developer of the Navvies Barge website and he has provided a brief summary of the options available.

ACTION – Neil to make contact with John to review the options.

2 Finance/Membership

The finances are healthy at present and 3 new members have joined recently. Letters have been sent to a further 6 members whose subscriptions have lapsed and so far 2 have responded positively.

Bev sent an invoice to SC for the Flotilla of Lights and payment of £200 has now been received.

The system for paying subscriptions through the website appears to be working better now and has been used by the new members.

Christine is currently engaged in her annual phone around of members and will report her findings next month.

3. Navigation and Safety Committee

Attendance by SC at the meeting on 3rd July was poor and no information was available on a number of significant items. Additional information was provided by SC, the notes of the meeting notes were updated and put on the website. The bi-monthly meetings are prearranged, lack of progress is fed back to SWfA and LCA members.

No progress has been made on the faulty decking at Spiers Wharf or the visitor mooring at Applecross St.

The Glasgow boaters are still waiting for the approval of the protocol for self-operation of the Glasgow bridges. It would appear that the issues are physical rather than philosophical.

As of today, we still have no news about progress of dredging on the Union Canal. There have been numerous complaints about boats grounding in shallow water, particularly between Linlithgow and Narrow Boat Farm. One member complained that it took 4hrs to transit from Causeway End to Winchburgh and they had problems with the engine overheating. Information on the depths on the Forth and Clyde had been promised but not yet received.

ACTION – Neil to review the reports at the next meeting.

We have also raised the issue of trees and undergrowth blocking the canal, restricting visibility and creating a hazard to navigation, particularly at constrictions in the canal. This was reinforced by The Forth and Clyde Canal Society who have now taken possession of the workboat “Rockvilla” and intend to use it to trim trees with their volunteers.

The siting of safety ladders at mooring sites is unresolved. With the approach of winter this should receive a higher priority.

Weed growth and lack of cutting due to broken down equipment and lack of staff is becoming serious. SC maintained that the 4 Birkies and 2 Truxors are working but this has not been corroborated. Mark Smith did promise that a comprehensive weed cutting plan would be available once the new CEO was in post but he has not responded to our latest request for information on weeding and dredging. Some of the emergency evacuation points on the Union are not accessible due to excessive weed growth.

ACTION – Neil to write to SC for details of the work carried out by the weed cutting teams and ask for details of the future programme. It was agreed that an FOI Request would be sent out.

The temporary works for the new road bridge at Winchburgh have restricted the headroom below the advertised figure for the Union Canal. Protruding metal sections are a hazard to boaters and there are no warning signs on the approach to the bridge. SC have been advised that this is not acceptable and if an accident occurs then legal advice will be sought since they have been forewarned of the danger.

The next meeting of the Nav and Safety Committee is scheduled for 5th September.

ACTION –Neil and Seppi to attend and feedback.

4. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The next meeting is still to be scheduled.

5. Pricing Review

SC rejected our complaint that Auchinstarry has been classified as a marina rather than a basin so no reduction in mooring charges. The complaint has been lodged with the Scottish Government. Still awaiting a decision.

6. Customer Charter

SC has still not provided any details of the Customer Charter which was promised following the pricing review last year and raised at the User Group Meeting in March. It should cover issues such as substandard facilities, restrictions to navigation and public use of boater’s facilities. It will set out what remedies will be applied in the event of failure by SC to honour their obligations. Laurie Piper has been reminded of his promise to provide the Charter.

7. Issues at Stockingfield Bridge

Mooring rings have now been installed on the capping beam.

8. User Group Meeting

It was agreed that it would be useful to contact all members before the face to face meeting in November to assess what important issues they would like raised. Committee members will then ensure that the most significant issues are discussed at the meeting. Christine will also discuss significant issues when she does her phone around.

ACTION – In October, Sean to send a survey questionaire to members asking for issues to be discussed.

9. Association with Inland Waterways Association

The committee were in favour of the suggestion to develop a relationship with IWA and it is hoped that Alison Smedley or Jonathan Mosse (IWA Rep in Scotland) will attend the next meeting of our committee meetings.

10. Moorings

SC are contemplating providing mooring facilities in Firhill Basin.

There is no water supply on the linear pontoon at Kirkintilloch and boaters have to enter the marina to fill up which is difficult when the marina is full.

SC have provided details of the current availability of moorings across the network and members can access the information on the website. However, it would be useful to see the details of those on the waiting list to check whether there is duplication of applicants. There may be a request for additional information at a later date.

11. Ghost Ships

The formal complaint on Ghost Ships was sent to the Ombudsman who replied that SC had not properly rejected our formal complaint. Christine has informed SC that the complaint should be taken to stage two.

ACTION – Christine has followed up the complaint to the ombudsman by asking for a meeting to discuss stage two. Laurie Piper has replied that he will be in touch next week.

12. Paddle Boarders

Christine forwarded Robin’s paper on Navigation Protocols for Canal Users to SC for inclusion on their website some months ago but it has not yet been added. Laurie Piper stated that it will be put on the new website with credits to Robin but it is still pending.

13. Flotilla of Lights

November 4th is confirmed as the date for this year’s Flotilla. Unfortunately, in spite of us giving SC prior notice of the date, they are proposing to shut down the Wheel for two months starting in late October, thereby preventing boats from the F&C from attending. Neil wrote to all members based on the F&C to ask whether they intended to take part in the flotilla and got a zero response apart from “The Duckling”.

ACTION – Neil to complain to Mark Smith to try to delay the closure.

It was suggested that it may be possible to get a grant from the Millennium Trust to subsidise the event, maybe helping boaters with fuel costs.

ACTION – Christine to send a request for funding to the Trust from the LCA committee.

We need to improve promotion so that people know that LCA have organised the event, not SC or EUCS. Maybe also find volunteers to man a stall to sell drinks etc to raise funds. A request for volunteers will go in the Newsletter.

14. Continuous Cruising.

Work on a paper about continuous cruising is in progress.

15. Supply of Fuel from SC

A member has complained that boaters purchasing diesel from SC at the Kelpies are only allowed to fill one container at a time which is very inconvenient.

16. Restrictions to Navigation

The boaters at the Kelpies are aggrieved that issues with the locks up to the Wheel have severely restricted their ability to move their boats. They intend to write to SC requesting a reduction in their navigation license fee as compensation.

ACTION – Christine and Neil to meet with them to discuss the issue. 

17. Rovers Ticket

After receiving the response from SC about the Rovers Ticket, further questions have been raised.

ACTION – Letter to be sent to Paula seeking additional information.

18. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be at 18:30hrs on Monday 25th September.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON THE NAVVIES BARGE ON 17th July 2023

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Colin Robertson and Neil Kitchener.

Steve Hobbs and Barney Sowood attended as an Observers.

Apologies Elspeth Soutar

1. Structure of the Committee

We are still looking to allocate the jobs of vetting the incoming mail and managing the membership list previously undertaken by Don. In the meantime, Neil and Christine will manage.

ACTION – Members to be asked to help.

Concern was expressed that the website needs updating. A forum section is an option to be considered.

ACTION – Sean, assisted by Colin, to review the options with the developer of the Navvies Barge website and advise what can be done.

2 Finance/Membership

The finances are healthy at present and membership is stable. Letters have been sent to 15 members whose subscriptions have lapsed and so far 8 have responded positively.

Following the meeting between Bev, Christine and the bank it would appear that when the account was transferred to a digital version incorrect contact information was entered. Issues with the account have now been resolved and bank statements have reverted to delivery by post. Bev sent an invoice to SC for the Flotilla of Lights and we are awaiting the money.

The system for paying subscriptions by cheque, Paypal or bank transfer is unreliable and needs updating.

ACTION – Colin and Sean to research and report back

3. Navigation and Safety Committee

Attendance by SC at the meeting on 3rd July was poor and no information was available on a number of significant items. A draft copy of the meeting notes have been sent to SC so they can provide the information which could not be discussed. The notes will then be updated and put on the website.

Locks 16 down to 3 are now operational although there were restrictions for a while due to low water levels. The gates to Lock 5 will be repaired during a winter closure. A permit is required for dredging of the river at Sealock 1. Sea lock 2 is now operational.

No progress has been made on the faulty decking at Spiers Wharf or the visitor mooring at Applecross St.

The Glasgow boaters are still waiting for the approval of the protocol for self-operation of the Glasgow bridges. It would appear that the issues are physical rather than philosophical.

As of today, we still have no news about progress of dredging on the Union Canal. The machinery is still on the F&C but not working. Information on the depths on the Forth and Clyde had been promised but not yet received.

ACTION – Neil to review the reports at the next meeting.

We have also raised the issue of trees and undergrowth blocking the canal, restricting visibility and creating a hazard to navigation, particularly at constrictions in the canal. This was reinforced by The Forth and Clyde Canal Society who complained that the crew on Voyager had to cut down branches during a recent trip through Lambhill.

Water levels on the F&C Canal have been resolved.

Issues with the siting of safety ladders at mooring sites are unresolved.

Weed growth and lack of cutting due to broken down equipment and lack of staff is becoming serious. SC maintained that the 4 Birkies and 2 Truxors are working but this has not been corroborated. Mark Smith did promise that a comprehensive weed cutting plan would be available once the new CEO was in post.

ACTION – Neil to write to SC for details of the work carried out by the weed cutting teams and ask for details of the future programme.

The temporary works for the new road bridge at Winchburgh have restricted the headroom below the advertised figure for the Union Canal. Protruding metal sections are a hazard to boaters.

The next meeting of the Nav and Safety Committee is scheduled for 5th September.

ACTION –Neil and Seppi to attend and feedback.

4. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

Following the discussions last month, it was agreed that Neil would continue to represent LCA and boaters on the main committee.

The LCA Nav and Safety Committee will continue their work on the Lowland Canals and separate committees formed with local boaters being responsible for the Crinan and Caledonian Canals, albeit reporting back to the SWfA committee. There has been no progress with setting up the committees on the Crinan and Caledonian.

5. Pricing Review

SC rejected our complaint that Auchinstarry has been classified as a marina rather than a basin so no reduction in mooring charges. The Ombudsman would not investigate and the complaint has been lodged with the Scottish Government. Still awaiting a decision.

6. Freedom of Information Requests

Following the answer to the FOI request concerning the number of boats transiting the lowland canals in the last 10 years, Neil presented a paper to SWfA expressing concern that the number of transit boats has steadily reduced to a trickle as a result of closures, dredging and weed issues resulting in a loss of confidence among the yachting fraternity. This has caused a significant reduction in SC’s income. The paper also quotes the total lack of interest amongst canal boaters in attempting the Millennium Challenge last year because of concerns about closures and restrictions to navigation.

ACTION – Neil to circulate the paper to the committee and include it in the newsletter.

SC has still not provided any details of the Customer Charter which was promised following the pricing review last year and raised at the User Group Meeting in March. It should cover issues such as substandard facilities, restrictions to navigation and public use of boater’s facilities. It will set out what remedies will be applied in the event of failure by SC to honour their obligations.

7. Issues at Stockingfield Bridge

Sean has sent proposals for the preferred location for the mooring rings to Alasdair Hamilton. SC are considering installing pontoons instead of letting boats tie directly to the capping beam. Still not installed.

8. User Group Meeting

Sean attended a meeting with Paula to discuss the next meeting in November. It was agreed that it would be changed to face to face at the Wheel using the same format as last time, with a link via Teams for those who cannot make the venue.

It was agreed that it would be useful to contact all members before the meeting to assess what important issues they would like raised. Committee members will then ensure that the most significant issues are discussed at the meeting. Christine will also discuss significant issues when she does her phone around next month.

ACTION – Sean to send a survey to members asking for issues in October.

9. Action Plan for 2023

A discussion about next year took place and the possibility of organising a summertime flotilla at Falkirk so that boaters from both canals could participate was suggested. Other items included a poetry competition.

ACTION – Sean and Colin to research and make recommendations.

10. Association with Inland Waterways Association

The committee were in favour of the suggestion to develop a relationship with IWA.

ACTION – Christine to make contact with Alison Smedley or Jonathan Mosse (IWA Rep in Scotland) and possibly arrange for them to attend the next meeting on 14th August.

The IWA are concerned that Government funding for canals across the UK will be drastically reduced in the light of spending cuts and have decided to establish a pressure group called “Funding Britain’s Waterways”. Pierre, Christine and Neil attended a Zoom meeting last month attended by about 20 organisations. They all supported the suggestion and a working party was set up to develop proposals for encouraging investment in the waterways on the basis of the benefit they bring in terms of health, finance and public amenity. The aim is to direct resources at those departments and political individuals who have influence on spending.

We are currently the only representatives from Scotland but others are to be contacted and encouraged to join up. Christine Mckay forwarded a video of the CEO of the Canal and River Trust explaining the impact of the reduction in income for DEFRA.

ACTIONS – Neil to contact Gordon Daly and other organisations, forward the video to the committee and put the link on the newsletter/website.

11. Moorings

SC are contemplating providing mooring facilities in Firhill Basin.

There is no water supply on the linear pontoon at Kirkintilloch and boaters have to enter the marina to fill up which is difficult when the marina is full.

SC have provided details of the current availability of moorings across the network. However, it would be useful to see the details of those on the waiting list to check whether there is duplication of applicants.

ACTION – Barney and Hobbs to prepare a draft letter requesting information from SC about the details of the waiting list for approval by the committee. The agreed text will be sent on behalf of LCA rather than an individual.

12. Ghost Ships

The paper on Ghost Ships was widely circulated among senior SC staff, the Transport Secretary, the press and politicians. Richard Millar replied that they acknowledge the historical issues but that things have improved and will be better in the future. Christine and Neil had a meeting with Richard Millar and Laurie Piper to discuss the paper as the second stage of the complaint. SC stated that they did not have the money to repair the boats so selling them would not only realise some cash but also free up mooring space and reduce staff input. SC said that they had plans to proceed with the sales but gave no indication of timescales. Notes of the meeting had been circulated and the unanimous decision was that a formal complaint should be made, making reference to the sale of the boats.

ACTION – Christine to follow up the complaint to the ombudsman.

13. Paddle Boarders

Christine forwarded Robin’s paper on Navigation Protocols for Canal Users to SC for inclusion on their website some months ago but it has not yet been added. Laurie Piper stated that it will be put on the new website with credits to Robin but no date given.

14. Flotilla of Lights

The film of last year’s Flotilla has been completed, once it has been placed on YouTube, the link will be sent around to the committee and put on the newsletter and website. The date of 4th November has been provisionally agreed for this year’s flotilla. Unfortunately, in spite of us giving SC prior notice of the date, they appear to be shutting down the Wheel for two months starting in late October which will prevent boats from the F&C from attending.

ACTION – Neil to write to members on the F&C to gauge how many would like to attend and complain to Mark Smith to try to delay the closure.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON THE NAVVIES BARGE ON 19th JUNE 2023

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Elspeth Soutar and Neil Kitchener.

Christine McKay attended as an Observer

1. Structure of the Committee

Unfortunately, Don has stepped down from the committee although he is still prepared to talk about issues. Seppi Soutar has volunteered to join us and will take over Don’s place on the Nav and Safety Committee. Don used to vet the incoming mail, resolve the issue if he could or pass it on to others for them to action. He also maintained the list of members, chased up subscriptions from existing members and dealt with new applications. These jobs need to be shared out amongst the committee members.

ACTION – Members to be asked to help.

Concern was expressed that the website needs updating.

ACTION – Sean and Seppi to review and advise what can be done.

2 Finance/Membership

The finances are healthy at present and membership is stable.

The bank changed access to our account to digital rather than post and we have not received statements for some time. Bev and Christine have an appointment next week to resolve the issue.  Bev sent an invoice but we have still not received the money from Scottish Canals for lighting the flotilla boats. Pierre has sent an email to Nicola Sturgeon to expedite payment.

ACTION – Christine to review with Bev

The system for paying subscriptions by cheque, Paypal or bank transfer is unreliable and needs updating. Previous requests have been unsuccessful.

3. Navigation and Safety Committee

Repairs to Lock 8 and temporary repairs to 3 other locks down to the Kelpies are still being carried out and SC have not given any information as to when the flight will be open. There are also issues with regard to the sea locks which are still not working. Pierre is concerned about that has written 3 times but failed to get a firm opening date.

Both the “costly” QE2 channel (with its’ unique de-masting station) and associated sea Lock and the old Carron Sea Lock (sea lock 2) are inoperative. The QE2 Sea Lock is silted up and has not worked since 2021, while the Carron Sea Lock has been rendered unusable since the maintenance of some rams started six weeks ago and it is dragging on. The lock is still unusable and won’t be open for another few weeks. The transit through the whole canal network is being held up because of these 2 Rams. Pierre has raised the question as to why this maintenance operation was started in May and not during the winter period but he didn’t get a clear response.

Despite a certain level of updates from the management team at SC (Tommy Thomson, Richard Millar), Pierre has experienced difficulties in getting a firm date for operations to restart to allow boats to transit between the Falkirk Wheel and the River Carron (Eastern side of the Canal Network). Many other people need to have regular updates (businesses operating on the canals and boat owners needing to plan their own movements. It is felt that Communications are failing once again.

Another worry is the actual very low water level in the canals and its imminent impact on Navigation, around 200mm below the standard level on the F&C.

No progress has been made on the faulty decking at Spiers Wharf or the visitor mooring at Applecross St.

The Glasgow boaters are still optimistic that the protocol for self-operation of the Glasgow bridges will be approved. The faulty bascule bridge at Applecross St has been repaired.

Dredging at Narrowboat Farm has been completed but it appears to have been reprofiling by moving material from the bank into the main channel. We have no news about progress of dredging on the rest of the channel. Information on the depths on the Forth and Clyde has been promised but not yet received.

ACTION – Neil to review the reports at the next meeting.

We have also raised the issue of trees and undergrowth blocking the canal, restricting visibility and creating a hazard to navigation, particularly at constrictions in the canal.

Concern was expressed at the low water levels across the F&C Canal and issues with the siting of safety ladders at mooring sites. Weed growth and lack of cutting due to broken down equipment and lack of staff is becoming serious. These will be discussed at the next meeting.

The next meeting of the Nav and Safety Committee is scheduled for 3rd July.

ACTION –Neil to feedback.

4. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

Following the discussions last month, it was agreed that Neil would continue to represent LCA and boaters on the main committee.

The LCA Nav and Safety Committee will continue their work on the Lowland Canals and separate committees formed with local boaters being responsible for the Crinan and Caledonian Canals, albeit reporting back to the SWfA committee through Neil.

5. Pricing Review

SC rejected our complaint that Auchinstarry has been classified as a marina rather than a basin so no reduction in mooring charges. The Ombudsman would not investigate and the complaint has been lodged with the Scottish Government.

6. Freedom of Information Requests

Following the AGM on 24th October, a FOI request concerning the number of boats transiting the lowland canals in the last 10 years was submitted. The response, although it omitted the details for 2018/2019, clearly showed that the number of transits had fallen from 56 in 2012 to 7 in 2022. The figures were passed to RYAS and other interested parties. This clearly shows the effect of issues which have restricted navigation, caused a lack of confidence in the yachting fraternity and resulted in a loss of income to SC. The details for the missing two years have been received and continue to show reducing numbers of transits.

The response about charges for Rover tickets for those hiring boats was submitted to SC but their response was inadequate and further clarification has been requested.

ACTION – Christine to chase SC for a response.

SC have still not provided any details of the Customer Charter which was promised following the pricing review last year although there is no agreed date for it’s completion. This should cover issues such as substandard facilities, restrictions to navigation and public use of boater’s facilities. It will set out what remedies will be applied in the event of failure by SC to honour their obligations.

7. Issues at Stockingfield Bridge

Sean has sent proposals for the preferred location for the mooring rings to Alasdair Hamilton. SC are considering installing pontoons instead of letting boats tie directly to the capping beam. Still not installed.

8. User Group Meeting

SC agreed to our proposal to change the format for the meeting and everyone who attended agreed that it was successful. SC prepared notes of the meeting, we added our comments and SC claim that they are available on the website. Copies have been sent to the Committee.

ACTION – Neil to insert link to the minutes in the newsletter.

It is proposed that the next meeting in November will be on Teams which is not as productive or useful as a face to face meeting.

ACTION – Christine to write to Paula requesting the meeting be changed to face to face.

9. Action Plan for 2023

A discussion about next year took place and the possibility of organising a summertime flotilla at Falkirk so that boaters from both canals could participate was suggested.

ACTION – Sean and Colin to research and make recommendations.

10. Association with Inland Waterways Association

The committee were in favour of the suggestion to develop a relationship with IWA and agreed that the proposal should be investigated further.

ACTION – Christine to make contact with Alison Smedley to arrange for a meeting, preferably face to face to review our options.

The IWA are concerned that Government funding for canals across the UK will be drastically reduced in the light of spending cuts and have decided to establish a pressure group called “Funding Britain’s Waterways”. Pierre, Christine and Neil attended a Zoom meeting last month attended by about 20 organisations. They all supported the suggestion and a working party was set up to develop proposals for encouraging investment in the waterways on the basis of the benefit they bring in terms of health, finance and public amenity. The aim is to direct resources at those departments and political individuals who have influence on spending.

We were the only representatives from Scotland. The committee agreed that we should actively support the scheme and try to find other organisation who would also join up.

ACTIONS – Neil to contact Gordon Daly and other to find other organisations. Christine McKay to forward details to Forth & Clyde Canal Society.

11. Moorings

SC’s policy with regard to moorings, particularly with the 30day rule for boaters to be away from their home berth is unclear.

ACTION – Seppi to forward correspondence for review then Christine to write to SC for clarification.

Seppi advised that if some extra cleats could be added to the pontoons at Linlithgow East then an additional visitor mooring could be created.

SC are contemplating providing mooring facilities in Firhill Basin.

There is no water supply on the linear pontoon at Kirkintilloch and boaters have to enter the marina to fill up which is difficult when the marina is full.

12. Ghost Ships

The paper on Ghost Ships was widely circulated to SC, their auditors, Minister of Transport, all MPSs and the press. Richard Millar replied that they acknowledge the historical issues but that things will be better in the future. We have a meeting with Richard Millar and Laurie Piper this week to discuss the paper and consider whether to progress it as a formal complaint. We will keep you posted.

13. Paddle Boarders

Christine forwarded Robin’s paper on Navigation Protocols for Canal Users to SC for inclusion on their website some months ago but it has not been added yet.

ACTION – Christine to chase Laurie Piper.

14. Flotilla of Lights

A film of last year’s Flotilla is being progressed and will be available later in the year. It has been agreed that this year’s flotilla will take place on 4th November.

15. Continuous Cruising.

Continuous cruising was discussed since it was an item from the User Group Meeting.

ACTION – Christine to research further.

16. Next Meeting

The next meeting is at 18:30hrs on Monday 17th July on the Navvies Barge.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON THE NAVVIES BARGE ON 20th FEBRUARY 2023

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Sean McNamara, Colin Robertson, Ania Neisser and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies, Don Williams and Len Stevens

1 Finance/Membership

The finances are healthy at present and membership is stable.

Bev sent an invoice but we have still not received the money from Scottish Canals for lighting the boats. Pierre has sent an email to Nicola Sturgeon to expedite payment.

The system for paying subscriptions by cheque, Paypal or bank transfer is unreliable.

ACTION – Colin to review the system and advise what improvements could be made to the payment system.

2. Navigation and Safety Committee

Training for boaters who wish to self-operate locks may take place in March/April using The Duckling

ACTION – Neil to confirm possible dates with Tommy.

Temporary repairs to 3 other locks down to the Kelpies will be carried out over the winter. However, all the gates on the network are nearly 25 years old and need replacing soon. SC claim they do not have the money so the situation can only deteriorate further. A long term plan and appropriate finance is imperative.

No progress has been made on the faulty decking at Spiers Wharf or the visitor mooring at Applecross St.

The Glasgow boaters are still optimistic that the protocol for self-operation of the Glasgow bridges will be approved this spring.

Responses from boaters to the information on dredging on the Union Canal has been received and forwarded to Alasdair Hamilton. Dredging on the channel is due to start early March following the dredging at Narrowboat farm. Information on the Forth and Clyde has been promised but not yet received.

ACTION – Neil to review the reports at the next meeting.

We have also raised the issue of trees and undergrowth blocking the canal, restricting visibility and creating a hazard to navigation, particularly at constrictions in the canal.

The next meeting of the Nav and Safety Committee is scheduled for 6th March.

ACTION –Neil to feedback.

3. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

Following the discussions last month, it was agreed that Neil would continue to represent LCA and boaters on the main committee.

The LCA Nav and Safety Committee will continue their work on the Lowland Canals and separate committees formed with local boaters will be responsible for the Crinan and Caledonian Canals, albeit reporting back to the SWfA committee through Neil.

ACTION – Christine to write to Pat Bowie to clarify the meeting minutes which wrongly imply that LCA will be involved on the committees for the Highland Canals.

SC is still working on the Customer Charter which will cover issues such as substandard facilities, restrictions to navigation and public use of boater’s facilities although there is no agreed date for it’s completion. It will set out what remedies will be applied in the event of failure by SC to honour their obligations. Richard Millar has allocated the task to Laurie Piper who promised to provide the information within 3 days but it has still not been received after a week

4. Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights

The committee agreed that Hobbs should receive chocolate and wine for his exceptionally creative entry of the new Queensferry Bridge. He has since received chocolates and a bottle of wine. All the other winners have received their prizes. Many thanks to all entrants.

5. Pricing Review

SC rejected our complaint that Auchinstarry has been classified as a marina rather than a basin. The Ombudsman would not investigate and the complaint has been lodged with the Scottish Government.

ACTION – Boaters will be notified of any progress.

The pricing review stated that the annual increases would be based on the change in CPI which was 9.5% last year. SC have used this figure for next year’s charges. However, the Government has capped increases for public housing at 6% and we have requested SC to consider capping their increase since they are a Government organisation. SC have responded but did not answer the specific questions and a further letter has been sent seeking clarification, see text below.

Dear Jo,

I have carefully read the e mail you sent and while it covers heating and the pricing review it did not actually answer the question. The question was that the government are reducing the CPI for residents to help people. The reduction would be from 9.05% to 6%. The government is caping increases to 6%, will Scottish canals as a quango follow suit?

We were asking if Scottish canals would follow the government lead. The answer should have been yes, no or maybe. Can I therefore ask for further elucidation only on that point. The specific issue was in relation to government controls on rent increases over the last year. Can you please justify your increase in light of current market conditions . The Bank of England are also predicting that inflation will start to fall later in the year and so that will also have a negative impact .Have you considered that boaters will have to re-evaluate the cost of living on the canals and this might lead to starting a downhill spiral where living on the canals become less attractive as the costs increase. I think that a good will gesture would go a long way to improving the residential experiences of boaters on the canal. Thanking you in anticipation.

Kind regards

Christine on behalf of the LCA

6. Freedom of Information Requests

Following the AGM on 24th October, a FOI request concerning the number of boats transiting the lowland canals in the last 10 years was submitted. The response, although it omitted the details for 2018/2019, clearly showed that the number of transits had fallen from 56 in 2012 to 7 in 2022. The figures were passed to RYAS and other interested parties. This clearly shows the effect of issues which have restricted navigation, caused a lack of confidence in the yachting fraternity and resulted in a loss of income to SC. Christine has requested details for the missing two years.

The response about charges for Rover tickets for those hiring boats was submitted to SC but their response was inadequate and further clarification has been requested.

SC have not provided any details of the Customer Charter which was promised following the pricing review last year.

7. Issues at Stockingfield Bridge

Sean has sent proposals for the preferred location for the mooring rings to Alasdair Hamilton. SC are considering installing pontoons instead of letting boats tie directly to the capping beam.

8. Sunken Boats

SC are aware of the sunken/abandoned boats at Bowling, Ratho and Port Buchan. Another boat at Falkirk has recently sunk.

Serious concern was expressed about the loss of mooring income from old, abandoned boats as well as the dilapidated condition of John Hume and Blue Hue in Glasgow which could be earning rental income if they had not been allowed to deteriorate. The depreciation in the value of the boats was also discussed.

ACTION – Christine to explore this issue further.

9. Air BNB

Sean expressed concern that owners of two boats at Spiers Wharf are considering letting them out as Air BNB accommodation. He is concerned that this trend will make it difficult to establish a viable community at the wharf because of the transient nature of the tenants. A letter was sent to SC seeking clarification, awaiting response.

10. User Group Meeting

Sean prepared a proposal to change the format of the User Group Meeting which were sent to Paula for comment. They involve less information from SC and more focused discussion on issues affecting boaters with Sean sitting on a panel with SC to mediate the discussions.

ACTION – Sean to meet with Paula and Mark Smith to agree the new format.

Scottish Canals have not advertised the meeting very well but we publicised it in our latest newsletter and suggested that boaters meet at the Woodside Inn afterwards for a brew and a blether.

11. Action Plan for 2023

A long discussion on items to follow up during the year took place, this will be collated and put into an action plan later in the year. Other subjects discussed included holding a poetry competition.

12. Association with Inland Waterways Association

The IWA are reopening their offices in Scotland to campaign for improvements in the canals and better conditions for boaters. There is a great deal of synergy with the LCA and it has been suggested that we should consider merging with them. They have great experience and resources which would be useful to help us. Not only do they campaign on issues such as continuous cruising, their Waterways Recovery Group engage volunteers to carry out remedial and improvement works to canals across the country. It has been suggested that they could assist with facilitating access into Port Dundas and the installation of bywashes on the locks down to Bowling which would significantly improve navigation along this stretch.

The committee were in favour of the suggestion and agreed that the proposal should be investigated further.

ACTION – Christine to make contact with Alison Smedley to arrange for a meeting, preferably face to face to review our options.

It was also agreed that the LCA aims and objectives should be reviewed to see if they need updating in view of the current situation.

ACTION – Colin and Sean to review and prepare a manifesto for discussion.

13. Next Meeting

The next meeting is at 18:30hrs on Monday 27th March on the Navvies Barge.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON THE NAVVIES BARGE ON 16th JANUARY 2023

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Sean McNamara, Colin Robertson, Ania Neisser and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies, Don Williams and Len Stevens

1 Finance/Membership

The finances are healthy at present and membership is stable.

The monies for the flotilla have been paid out and the prizes for the photo competition have been sent out. However, we have still not received the money from Scottish Canals for lighting the boats.

ACTION – Pierre to chase Richard Millar

Christine contacted Colin for an update about the subscription system.

2. Navigation and Safety Committee

Training for boaters who wish to self-operate locks may take place in March/April using The Duckling

ACTION – Neil to confirm possible dates with Tommy.

Temporary repairs to 3 other locks down to the Kelpies are planned over the winter. However, all the gates on the network are nearly 25 years old and need replacing. SC claim they do not have the money so the situation can only deteriorate further. A long term plan and appropriate finance is imperative.

No progress has been made on the faulty decking at Spiers Wharf or the visitor mooring at Applecross St.

The Glasgow boaters are optimistic that the protocol for self-operation of the Glasgow bridges will be approved this spring.

Following the voyage to Edinburgh for the Flotilla, Neil reported issues and submitted photos about excessive weed growth, floating weedbergs obstructing the channel and boats grounding near Bridge 13 to SC.

Information on dredging on the Union Canal has been received and LCA is attempting to verify it’s content by contacting boaters who regularly navigate the canal. Issues which badly affect navigation can therefore be prioritised before SC start work in March. The general perception is that this is just a piecemeal plan and not a preventative annual programme, without which, the situation will continue to deteriorate. . Information on the Forth and Clyde has been promised but not yet received.

ACTION – Neil to submit report to SC.

We have also raised the issue of trees and undergrowth blocking the canal, restricting visibility and creating a hazard to navigation, particularly at constrictions in the canal.

The next meeting of the Nav and Safety Committee is scheduled for 6th March.

ACTION – Don and Neil to feedback.

3. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

Following the discussions last month, it was agreed that Neil would continue to represent LCA and boaters on the main committee.

The LCA Nav and Safety Committee will continue their work on the Lowland Canals and separate committees formed with local boaters will be responsible for the Crinan and Caledonian Canals, albeit reporting back to the SWfA committee through Neil.

SC is still working on the Customer Charter which will cover issues such as substandard facilities, restrictions to navigation and public use of boater’s facilities although there is no agreed date for it’s completion. It will set out what remedies will be applied in the event of failure by SC to honour their obligations. Richard Millar has allocated the task to Laurie Piper

ACTION – Christine contacted Laurie for an update but he was on holiday and emailed to say that he would make contact on his return.

4. Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights

The flotilla was a great success with large crowds in attendance. It is hoped to build on this next year and try to generate interest with more advertising to make people aware that LCA organised the event, rather than SC or Edinburgh Union Canal Society. We need to make more use of social media and Edinburgh Tourist Information. Maybe we could set up a refreshment stall to raise funding. Disappointment was expressed at the poor publicity given to the event on the SC website and newsletter.

ACTION – Christine to review content on SC website or newsletters and write to SC to ensure that any publicity includes reference to LCA organising the event.

Reiss has been paid for his photographs and a selection of photos will be put on the website. It is the intention to produce a video for this year’s event. We may consider producing a calendar for 2024 using photos from the flotilla.

ACTION – Neil to send out photos and organise the video.

It was agreed the Hobbs should receive chocolate and wine for his exceptionally creative entry.

5. Cruising Awards

No claims have been received for any of the four challenges which were established to generate greater use of infrequently visited parts of the network. We have been advised by boaters that because of issues with lack of water and leaking gates restricting access through Locks 16 to 3 down to the Kelpies, as well as problems accessing Port Dundas, they felt the challenges were too problematic. We will review the situation at the next SWfA meeting.

ACTION – Neil to contact boaters to gauge interest for next year.

6. Pricing Review

SC rejected our complaint that Auchinstarry has been classified as a marina rather than a basin. The Ombudsman would not investigate and the complaint has been lodged with the Scottish Government.

ACTION – Boaters will be notified of any progress.

7. Security at Moorings

Christine’s report was submitted to SC who have responded that shortage of staff and money means that it will again impact on any action. Things have quietened down for the winter but it is likely to become an issue again during the summer. Christine has asked Paula to put it on the agenda for the users meeting. We will continue to monitor the situation.

8 Positive Result

At Auchinstarry, SC improved the hygiene standards in the facilities block by removing mould growth from the rooms and upgrading the extractor fans. The new storage units are now in position but they have not yet been allocated to boaters. Biffa has taken steps to minimise the outbreak of rats in the rubbish bins.

ACTION – Nav and Safety to send letter of thanks to Tommy Thomson and his team.

9. Annual General Meeting

Following the AGM on 24th October, FOI requests concerning the number of boats transiting the lowland canals in the last 10 years and clarification about the charges for Rover tickets for those hiring boats were submitted to SC. No response has been received. Christine sent a complaint to SC, they have asked for a time extension and have agreed to respond before 27th January. It was noted that SC has  failed to respond within the legally stipulated time in the past. LCA’s policy is to remind them of their obligations, make and informal complaint followed by a formal complaint if they fail to deliver.

10. Issues at Stockingfield Bridge

Sean has sent proposals for the preferred location for the mooring rings to Alasdair Hamilton. SC are considering installing pontoons instead of letting boats tie directly to the capping beam.

11. Sunken Boats

SC are aware of the sunken/abandoned boats at Bowling, Ratho and Port Buchan. Another boat at Falkirk has recently sunk. Old Spot has still not been moved although it has been put up for sale with the condition that it is removed from the canal.

Serious concern was expressed about the loss of mooring income from old abandoned boats as well as the dilapidated condition of John Hume and Blue Hue in Glasgow which could be earning rental income if they had not been allowed to deteriorate. The depreciation in the value of the boats was also discussed.

12. Air BNB

Sean expressed concern that owners of two boats at Spiers Wharf are considering letting them out as AirBNB accommodation. He is concerned that this trend will make it difficult to establish a viable community at the wharf because of the transient nature of the tenants.

ACTION – Christine to ask whether quotas would be considered to maintain the community. 

13. User Group Meeting

LCA are proposing to change the format of the User Group Meeting and details have been sent to Paula. We have agreed to publicise the meeting in our newsletter.

14. Action Plan for 2023

A long discussion on items to follow up during the year took place, this will be collated and put into an action plan later in the year. Other subjects discussed included holding a poetry competition.

15. Next Meeting

The meeting on the Navvies Barge went well and it is hoped that future meetings be face to face with an option for Zoom as well. The date and location to be confirmed.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 28th NOVEMBER 2022

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Don Williams, Sean McNamara, Colin Robertson and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies:  Ania Neisser

1 Finance/Membership

The finances are healthy at present and membership is stable. 4 members have not renewed their membership but 2 new members have joined.

The committee authorised the £50 to Christine Mckay for the flotilla leaflets and £30 to Christine for food for the post flotilla party. Scottish Canals agreed to pay £200 towards costs for lighting the boats but we have not yet received the money.

ACTION – Christine to pay Christine Mckay

ACTION – Pierre to chase Richard Millar

Colin to see whether the payment system can be simplified.

ACTION – Christine to contact Colin.

2. Navigation and Safety Committee

Tommy Thomson and Neil have discussed training for boaters who wish to self-operate locks and dates for the training, using The Duckling, have to be sorted. Don has provided the list of names of interested individuals.

ACTION – Neil to discuss possible dates with Tommy.

Temporary repairs to 3 other locks down to the Kelpies are planned over the winter.

No progress has been made on the faulty decking at Spiers Wharf or the visitor mooring at Applecross St.

Following the voyage to Edinburgh for the Flotilla, Neil reported issues and submitted photos about excessive weed growth, floating weedbergs obstructing the channel and boats grounding near Bridge 14 to SC.

The next meeting of the Nav and Safety Committee is scheduled for 9th January.

ACTION – Don and Neil to feedback.

3. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

Following the discussions last month it was agreed that Neil would continue to represent LCA and boaters on the main committee.

The LCA Nav and Safety Committee will continue their work on the Lowland Canals and separate committees formed with local boaters will be responsible for the Crinan and Caledonian Canals, albeit reporting back to the SWfA committee through Neil.

SC is still working on the Customer Charter which will cover issues such as substandard facilities, restrictions to navigation and public use of boater’s facilities although there is no agreed date for it’s completion. It will set out what remedies will be applied in the event of failure by SC to honour their obligations. Richard Millar has allocated the task to Laurie Piper

ACTION – Christine to contact Laurie for an update.

4. Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights

The flotilla was an awesome success, 12 boats took part and there were large crowds supporting the event. There were 4 charity boats but fewer private boats than previous years and we need to find ways to encourage more owners to participate next year. The best dressed boat was won by Nicky and Trudy on board Seppi’s boat Dandelion, masquerading as “This Time Mindfully”. The model boat club ran a mini flotilla in front of the larger boats which was well appreciated.

Concern was expressed that there was a lot of interest on Facebook and Twitter but LCA got little or no recognition for organising the event. Most people thought it was organised by SC as part of the 200 year celebrations for the Union Canal. EUCS set up a refreshment stall and raised funds on the back of the flotilla.

ACTION – Christine to review content on SC website or newsletters and write to SC to ensure that any publicity includes reference to LCA organising the event.

Reiss photographed the event again and has been paid. The photos will be sent to the committee and put on the web site. It is the intention to produce a video for this year’s event.

ACTION – Neil to send out photos and organise the video.

About 50 photos covering the events over the weekend were received and the judging took place on Christine McKay’s boat in Kirkintilloch. The winners have been notified and prize money paid out

5. Cruising Awards

There have been issues with lack of water and leaking gates restricting access through Locks 16 to 3 down to the Kelpies as well as problems accessing Port Dundas and no claims have been received for any of the four challenges. We will review the situation at the next SWfA meeting and get feedback from boaters.

ACTION – Neil to contact boaters to gauge interest for next year.

6. Pricing Review

SC rejected our complaint that Auchinstarry has been classified as a marina rather than a basin. The Ombudsman would not investigate and the complaint has now progressed to the Scottish Government. When we receive a reply, the information will be made available on the website.

7. Moorings

We received a response from SC about the allocation of moorings but it was incomplete and a further letter seeking clarification will be sent.

ACTION – Christine to send follow up letter.

8. Security at Moorings

Christine’s report was submitted to SC who have responded that shortage of staff and money means that it is unlikely that they will take much action. We will continue to monitor the situation. We would like a meeting to discuss progress on the report

ACTION – Christine to contact Paula to arrange a meeting.

9 Ongoing Concerns

At Auchinstarry SC have agreed to improve the hygiene standards in the facilities block by removing mould growth from the rooms and upgrading the extractor fans. The new storage units are now in position but they have not yet been allocated to boaters. Biffa are taking steps to minimise the outbreak of rats in the rubbish bins.

10. Annual General Meeting

The AGM was held on 24th October using Zoom but disappointingly only 4 non committee members attended. There was a proposal that the LCA submit FOI requests concerning two specific issues:-

Details for the number of boats transiting the lowland canals in the last 10 years.

Clarification about the charges for Rover tickets for those hiring boats.

ACTION – Christine to draft the requests and submit to the committee fro review before sending to SC.

The meeting notes have been put on the website.

11. Issues at Stockingfield Bridge

The area alongside the sheet piles appears to have been dredged and the Heras fencing/handrail have been removed. The original plans included the provision of visitor mooring points alongside the sheet piling but they have not been installed yet.

ACTION- Sean to contact Alasdair about preferred location for the mooring rings.

12. Sunken Boats

Pierre reported that one of the leisure boats on the linear pontoon at Ratho had sunk, probably as a result of the recent heavy rain. It has been refloated and he has attempted to inform SC.

There is a sunken cruiser in the lower basin at Bowling which has damaged the floating pontoon.

Neil stated that the cruiser New Venture has been vandalised and abandoned on the offside just North of Port Buchan. It appears to have a notice from SC stuck onto the superstructure but not sure what it says.

ACTION –Neil to forward photos to Don and Pierre.

13. Air BNB

Sean expressed concern that owners of two boats at Spiers Wharf are considering letting them out as AirBNB accommodation. He is concerned that this trend will make it difficult to establish a viable community at the wharf because of the transient nature of the tenants.

14. Next Meeting

It is proposed that the next meeting on 9th January 2023 is to plan the way forward for the coming year and will preferably be face to face rather than on Zoom. The location is to be confirmed. Sean offered the Navvies Barge but other locations will be considered.

The meeting will be a review of the last 4 years work and to decide what actions are proposed for the ongoing problems of weeding, dredging et al.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 3rd October 2022

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Don Williams, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Len Stevens and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies:  Colin Robertson,

1 Finance/Membership

The finances are healthy at present and membership is stable. Funding for the flotilla was approved, see later notes for details.

Don has not been able to contact Colin to see whether the payment system can be simplified. Christine to follow up.

2. Navigation and Safety Committee

Tommy Thomson and Neil have discussed training for boaters who wish to self-operate locks. Sessions are planned during October, possibly using The Duckling. Don has provided the list of names of interested individuals.

The temporary repairs to Lock 8 are now complete but there are issues with lack of water which means that SC is reluctant to allow routine access between the Kelpies and 16. They have agreed that boats will be allowed essential access but it may take two weeks to get a date. Temporary repairs are also planned to 3 other locks over the winter.

There are over 40 sets of gates across the network which are nearing the end of their useful life. SC has not yet earmarked adequate finance to replace these gates which may jeopardize navigation if the gates are not replaced in a timely manner. Access to the Kelpies and through Lock 36 has already been seriously disrupted and the situation is likely to deteriorate further unless SC allocate funds and resources to this work.

SC conceded that poor progress had been made on closing out issues on the tracker which they blamed on COVID, lack of staff resources and finance. In the light of the current financial crisis, the government has reduced funding available which will further limit the amount of work which will be done next year.

No progress has been made on the faulty decking at Spiers Wharf or the visitor mooring at Applecross St.

The next meeting is scheduled for 7th November.

ACTION – Don and Neil to feedback.

3. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

A proposal to change the operating protocol for SWFA was discussed at the extra-ordinary meeting on 16th August and the minutes have just been issued. It was noted that the proposal had been drawn up by Pat Bowie, Stuart Rennie and Richard Millar with no representative from residential, leisure or commercial boaters who would have been able to look at wider aspects o f canal life.

A full and frank discussion took place about the proposal to reorganise the way SWfA operates and the role LCA should play. When SWfA was established we took the view that we would gain more by being part of the organisation rather than being outside and isolated. Don and Neil have served on the committee since the start. However, with the resignation of Don, Jonathan Mosse and Richard Davies the committee appears to have a distinct imbalance in favour of the Charity sector and the Union Canal, with only Neil representing leisure and residential boaters. Concerns were raised about the increased emphasis on the charity sector who have a different agenda from ordinary boaters. They either have their own moorings or have different mooring charges and they only tend to navigate on local areas of the network.

Because the LCA Committee had divided views, it was decided that the committee would be given access to the new proposal and the minutes from the meeting of 16th August. From the informed material a majority decision would be taken and Christine will phone around next week for feed back.

ACTION – Neil to circulate the minutes for the extra-ordinary meeting as well as the details for the AGM.

ACTION – All to review the proposals and return comments the Christine.

The LCA Nav and Safety Committee had by then been in operation for a few years and had achieved a number of significant successes. It was agreed in writing by Richard Millar that LCA were best suited to carry on with the work and that there was no intention to pass the role over to SWfA. The current proposal is to widen the brief to include the Crinan and Caledonian Canals.

SC is still working on the Customer Charter which will cover issues such as substandard facilities, restrictions to navigation and public use of boater’s facilities although there is no agreed date for it’s completion. It will set out what remedies will be applied in the event of failure by SC to honour their obligations. It is hoped that a sub-group will be formed to review the proposals.

SWfA will present the new protocol at the AGM which is scheduled for 20th October at the Falkirk Wheel and also on Teams.

4. Communications

Negative examples of poor communications continue, in particular the delay in publishing the video of Neil talking about the “Challenges”, the film of last years flotilla and the notice advertising this year’s flotilla on SC’s website.

5. Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights

Pierre has sent a letter to all his contacts to advise that the flotilla will take place on 5th November. There is a possibility that Wee Spark might make the journey from Bowling but there may be problems with weed along the route. It was suggested that next year it would be good to ask people to respond to the flotilla notice with a Yes or No and if Not, why not, so that we can identify whether there are difficulties with navigation which we could use against SC.

Pierre is trying has made contact with a model boat club to see if they are interested in running a mini flotilla in front of the larger boats. Awaiting a reply.

Christine McKay has produced the flyers and they are being distributed at the moment. Many thanks to Christine, Florence Liz and Sean for delivering the flyers. It was agreed that Christine should be reimbursed £50 for the additional production cost. The education authority has given permission for leaflets to be distributed through the local schools.

We propose to find a suitable venue for boaters to congregate and have a bite to eat at the end of the event. Lochrin Belle and Panacea, as well as Gazebos set up near the facilities block, were suggested as possibilities. It is difficult to estimate the numbers until nearer the date since boats may have passengers.

ACTION – Pierre to investigate options and report back.

Reiss has agreed to photograph the event again and a fee of £100 was agreed by the committee. It is the intention to produce a video for this year’s event.

6. Cruising Awards

There have been issues with lack of water and leaking gates restricting access through Locks 16 to 3 down to the Kelpies as well as problems accessing Port Dundas and nobody has submitted details for any of the events. However, since the closing date is 30th November we may still get some. We will review and assess the situation at the next meeting in December.

7. Pricing Review

SC rejected our complaint that Auchinstarry has been classified as a marina rather than a basin and we have submitted a complaint to the Ombudsman.

8. Moorings

Christine wrote to SC about the allocation of moorings and we have been promised a response next week. This will be circulated to the committee.

9. Maintenance Facility at Lock 16

SC’s intention with regard to the establishment of a maintenance facility at Falkirk is unclear. The cost for developing the office complex has increased significantly and it is unclear how this will affect the redevelopment scheme. In the meantime, boat maintenance continues to be a problem.

10. Security at Moorings

Christine’s report was submitted to SC who have responded that shortage of staff and money means that it is unlikely that they will take much action. We will continue to monitor the situation. It was proposed that a meeting should be arranged with SC, the police and MSP to discuss security.

11. Government Fuel Credit

It looks as if our efforts have paid off since the Government has recently announced that people living off grid or without a supply contract with a recognised supplier such as boater and caravan dwellers will receive the £400 grant towards their fuel bills. However, the precise mechanism for payment has not yet been not published.

12 Ongoing Concerns

Staff shortages are having a significant effect on maintenance work on the network. This is a long term problem leading to a deterioration on maintenance across the network

Two of the Berky weed cutters are currently broken down awaiting spares. There have also been issues with insufficient staff to operate the cutters. This has led to rafts of weeds slowly throttling the channel in places and seriously restricting navigation and worsening the degeneration of the canal every year.

End to end transit by yachts has reduced significantly because owners are concerned about the reliability of the canal because of issues with gates, bridges, weed etc. Concerns were raised that this would lead to less use and more weed growth.

SC appear to be having issues with funding which may result in the closure of the western section beyond Maryhill or reclassification as a remainder canal.

It would be beneficial if LCA could be provided with the results of the sonar surveys along the canals which have not yet been made available. Boaters would then be able to avoid any identified hazard.

13.Complaints

Christine has drawn up a list to record issues and complaints which we raise with SC in a similar manner to the Stoppage Log. It was discussed at meeting. It could be sent annually to the Transport Minister and MSPs to familiarise them with the extent of outstanding and ongoing issues.

ACTION – Christine to go through the minutes and discuss at the next meeting

14. Annual General Meeting

The AGM will be held on Monday 24th October at 18:30hrs using Zoom. Christine will write her annual report and send it around the committee for approval.

ACTION – All to review the document and send response to Neil by Sunday.

ACTION – Neil to send invitation to the meeting to all members, along with a copy of the report.

15. Issues at Stockingfield Bridge

Th original plans for Stockingfield included the provision of visitor mooring points alongside the sheet piling but they have not been installed yet. The area alongside the sheet piles has not been properly dredged and there are areas with boulders within 12 inches of the surface. There are also sections of Heras fencing and handrail which have been thrown in the water which are a hazard to navigation.

ACTION – Neil to complain to SC about the absence of mooring rings and obstructions in the channel.

16. Freedom of Information Requests

We have submitted FOI request about the boat maintenance facility, staffing levels and availability of moorings. SC have promised responses next week which will be sent round to the committee.

17. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be the AGM held at 18:30hrs on Monday 24th October using Zoom.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 22nd August 2022

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Don Williams and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies:  Colin Robertson, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser and Len Stevens.

1 Finance/Membership

The finances are healthy at present. I new member and 1 renewal.

Christine emailedColin to contact Don to see whether the payment system can be simplified.

2 lapsed members who had not paid their subscriptions for some time responded to Christine’s summary of LCA’s achievements and rejoined.

2. Navigation and Safety Committee

SC is still prepared to carry out training for boaters who wish to operate locks and bridges but no progress so far

There will be closures on the Union Canal throughout the winter whilst significant embankment improvement works are carried out in 4 separate areas.

Issues with loss of water through the gates at Lock 8 resulted in a total closure of the flight down to the Kelpies. SC did not provide adequate notice of the closure and there was even confusion amongst their staff about the ongoing situation, yet another example of poor communication. Temporary repairs have now been completed but the overall shortage of water means that navigation to and from the Kelpies will be restricted to essential and transit traffic for the foreseeable future. Temporary repairs are also planned to 3 other locks over the winter.

There are over 40 sets of gates across the network which are nearing the end of their useful life. SC has not yet earmarked adequate finance to replace these gates which may jeopardize navigation if the gates are not replaced in a timely manner.

At the last SWFA meeting on 16th June, LCA raised the lack of progress on items on the Nav and Safety tracker. It was agreed that Don and Neil would prioritise the concerns which they did and sent them to Richard Millar who agreed to deal with the concerns within 7 days. He did not and the LCA raised a complaint. They will be dealt with at the next Nav and Safety meeting on 6th September which will be attended by Don and Neil. We will report back at the next LCA meeting. Concerns were also expressed about poor communication still being an issue.

The next meeting is scheduled for 5th September.

ACTION – Don and Neil to feedback.

3. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

An extra ordinary SWFA was arranged on the 16th August, called by Pat Bowie to discuss the proposed changes to the SWfA protocol. Pat, Richard Millar and Stuart Rennie had had a prior meeting at which they had developed a new proposal for running SWfA. The minutes of that meeting have been requested and will be circulated when we get them. One difficulty for the organisation was that several members of SWFA have resigned, notably Richard Davies, Jonathan Mosse, Sue Bedford-Visser and Don Williams. SWfA is looking to fill these vacancies. If you are interested, please contact Pat Bowie.

At the meeting, LCA raised relevant issues and asked about the way the new proposal would work if it is accepted at the AGM on 20th October. The main committee would only meet twice a year and there would be 4 subgroups covering boaters’ issues, volunteering/training, communication/events and charities. Neil will continue to serve on SWfA in the meantime. He is keen to follow up the Customer Charter, which was promised during the pricing review. The LCA would like to propose a vote of thanks to Don for his contribution to SWfA.

Christine suggested that “Keep Canals Alive” should be resurrected to replace SWfA but this was not accepted.

SC are working on the Customer Charter which will cover issues such as substandard facilities, restrictions to navigation and public use of boater’s facilities although there is no agreed date for it’s completion. It will set out what remedies will be applied in the event of failure by SC to honour their obligations. A sub-group will be formed to review the proposals.

4. Communications

Negative examples of poor communications recently include the delay in publishing the details of the Challenges and the video of Neil talking about the Challenges for SC’s website. It has still not been added and the time left for boaters to take part in the challenges is running out.

5. Events

The Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights will be held on 5th November and SC have now agreed that the Wheel will operate until Tuesday 8th November to allow boats from the F&C to participate.

ACTION – Pierre is to meet with Christine McKay to sort out details for the flyers.

It was agreed that the subsidy for the fireworks and BBQ should be increased to £200.

ACTION – Pierre to check whether there is legislation restricting the type of fireworks which can be used.

ACTION – Christine to chase Scott Lamond for SC to publicise the event on their website and newsletters and chase up the education department and local schools when the leaflet is available.

Christine met with Christine McKay to formulate a plan.

The video of last years flotilla has been completed and is available on YouTube. The link will be distributed to all members and put on the website. It has received very positive feedback and it is proposed that a similar video may be produced for this year’s event. The video link is: https://youtu.be/kLVdIv4CmAQ

ACTION – Neil to contact Reiss to see if he will take the photos again.

ACTION – All to review the video and pass the link on to friends and contacts to increase the number of hits on YouTube.

6. Cruising Awards

The new series of challenges have been advertised in our newsletter and website. Although SC agreed to include details in their next newsletter as well as on their website this was significantly delayed.

There are issues with lack of water and leaking gates restricting access through Locks 16 to 3 down to the Kelpies as well as problems accessing Port Dundas. SC are aware that the challenge is running again and we are chasing them through the Nav and Safety Committee to get them sorted in time. Due to the late notice and closures it is unlikely that the events will be well supported.

7. Pricing Review

SC rejected our complaint that Auchinstarry has been classified as a marina rather than a basin and we have submitted a request to raise the complaint to Stage 2.

8. Continuous Cruising

The issue of continuous cruising is still being discussed. SC has replied to Christine’s second letter which has been circulated and will be put in the newsletter for members to read.

ACTION – All, please read response and provide comments.

9. Moorings

LCA members are concerned about the allocation of moorings and we are seeking further information of a more specific nature. Community Moorings Scotland have now opened up which should improve the availability of berths on SC sites.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC for further information.

10. Maintenance Facility at Lock 16

SC’s intention with regard to the establishment of a maintenance facility at Falkirk is unclear. The cost for developing the office complex has increased significantly and it is unclear whether the redevelopment scheme will go ahead at all. Neil raised the issue at the SWfA meeting but no definitive news was forthcoming.

11. Paddle Boarders and Other Canal Users

SC has confirmed that non powered navigation on the canal is permitted without charge under the Countryside Access Code. The issue of licences for horse-drawn barges and boatels was discussed.

12. Security at Moorings

Christine’s report was submitted to SC who have responded that shortage of staff and money means that it is unlikely that they will take much action. We will continue to monitor the situation.

13. Government Fuel Credit

Neil wrote to his local MP and received a response from the Secretary of State for Energy confirming that they plan to develop a strategy to ensure that people such as residential boaters, caravan dwellers and those living completely off grid will all receive the £400 support payment. We await the details with interest.

ACTION – Neil to forward the response to members.

14. Auchinstarry Issues

It was agreed that adequate parking should be provided for both residential and leisure boaters but that individual marked spaces were not required.

New security cameras have been installed and the boaters are concerned about the way they are operated and the quality and content of the recordings. They have been advised to raise the issue directly with SC. Only if they get no satisfaction will LCA take up the issue.

15 Ongoing Concerns

Staff shortages are having a significant effect on maintenance work on the network.

An annual weeding programme would be better than spot weeding of areas.

End to end transit by yachts has reduced significantly because owners are concerned about the reliability of the canal because of issues with gates, bridges, weed etc. Concerns were raised that this would lead to less use and more weed growth.

SC appear to be having issues with funding which may result in the closure of the western section beyond Maryhill or reclassification as a remainder canal.

It would be beneficial if LCA could be provided with the results of the sonar surveys along the canals which have not yet been made available. Boaters would then be able to avoid any identified hazard.

16.Complaints

Don suggested that we develop a spreadsheet to record issues and complaints which we raise with SC in a similar manner to the Stoppage Log. It could be sent annually to the Transport Minister and MSPs to familiarise them with the extent of issues we have with SC.

ACTION – Christine to go through the minutes and discuss at the next meeting

17. Annual General Meeting

The AGM will be held on Monday 24th October at 18:30hrs. The venue is still to be decided but it is likely to be by Zoom.

18. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held at 18:30hrs on Monday 3rd October using Zoom.

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 28th JULY 2022

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Don Williams and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies:  Colin Robertson, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser and Len Stevens

1 Finance/Membership

The finances are healthy at present. 3 people tried to join up but had difficulties with the payment system on the website.

ACTION – Don to contact Dave to see if the membership section and payment system can be improved. He will also contact Colin to see whether the system can be simplified.

There is a number of lapsed members who have not paid their subscriptions for some time despite reminders from Don. It was suggested that a summary of our achievements over the past year should be produced and sent to all lapsed members to encourage them to rejoin.

ACTION – Christine to prepare draft for approval by the committee.

2. Navigation and Safety Committee

SC are still prepared to carry out training for boaters who wish to operate locks and bridges.

ACTION – Don to circulate members and send list of trainees to SC, ongoing.

Dredging work has been carried out but although weeding is better than last year, it has been hampered by lack of staff.

3. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

During the SWfA meeting on 16th June, we expressed concern that very few of the issues on the Nav and Safety tracker had been closed out despite being on the list for significant periods of time. The main issue appears to be a serious shortage of staff, particularly seasonals. We reviewed the list and identified those items which we considered to be urgent. We sent the list to SC who undertook to respond with likely completion dates within seven days. So far there has been no reply.

ACTION – Neil to write to SC to chase reply.

A sub-group will be formed to develop the Customer Charter which will cover issues such as substandard facilities, restrictions to navigation, public use of boater’s facilities and set out what remedies will be applied in the event of failure by SC to honour their obligations.

4. Communications

Colin and Don are concerned that the sub-group is not effective in responding to their suggestions and is ineffective. The attendance at the meetings is poor and no minutes are produced. SC do not follow up on issues raised and do not seem to understand the importance and significance of good communications to the boaters and to their own staff. They intend to question whether the subgroup should be disbanded at the next meeting.

One negative example is that at the end of June Scott Lamond videoed Neil talking about the Challenge so that it could go on their website. It has still not been added and the time left for boaters to complete their journey is running out.

5. Events

The Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights will be held on 5th November and SC have now agreed that the Wheel will operate until Tuesday 8th November to allow boats from the F&C to participate.

ACTION – Pierre is to summarise what assistance he requires and prepare a brief so we can look for volunteers.

Christine McKay has agreed to produce the flyers for the flotilla but needs the details.

ACTION – Christine to chase Scott Lamond for SC to publicise the event in their website and newsletters and chase up the education department and local schools when the leaflet is available.

6. Cruising Awards

The new series of challenges have been advertised in the newsletter and our website. Although SC agreed to include details in their next newsletter as well as on their website this has not happened.

ACTION – Neil to chase Scott Lamond to get SC to publicise the event.

There are issues with lack of water and leaking gates restricting access through Locks 16 to 3 down to the Kelpies as well as accessing Port Dundas. SC are aware that the challenge is running again and we are chasing them through the Nav and Safety Committee to get them sorted in time.

7. Pricing Review

No response from SC yet about the complaint that Auchinstarry has been classified as a marina rather than a basin and mooring charges should be reduced accordingly.

8. Annual General Meeting

The AGM will be held on Monday 24th October at 18:30hrs. The venue is still to be decided.

9. Continuous Cruising

The issue of continuous cruising is still being discussed. SC have responded to Christine’s letter but further questions have been submitted asking for clarity on their position. SC has replied to Christine’s letter which has been circulated and will be put in the newsletter for members to read.

ACTION – All, please read response and provide comments

10.Transfer of Moorings on Sale of Boats

SC maintain that moorings cannot be transferred when a boat is sold and the new owner must go on the waiting list. This makes selling a boat almost impossible. However, there are many instances where moorings have been transferred. One possible solution is for the seller to retain a £1 stake in the boat, thereby sharing ownership. SC has replied to Christine’s letter which has been circulated and will be put in the newsletter for members to read.

ACTION – All, please read response and provide comments

11. Maintenance Facility at Lock 16

SC’s intention with regard to the establishment of a maintenance facility at Falkirk is unclear. Paula Carson has indicated that it may not go ahead.

ACTION – Neil to raise the issue at the SWfA meeting and recommend that a sub-group is set up to develop the scheme for the benefit of the boaters.

12. Paddle Boarders and Other Canal Users

Christine wrote to SC suggesting that companies who use the canal for training sessions should make a payment. The response from SC has been received and circulated to the committee for comment. It will be added to the next newsletter.

13. Contact with Members

Christine completed the phone around of all members who are very happy with this service. Poor security was a recurring concern and other issues included poor canal maintenance, reduced staffing levels and poor communication.

14. Security at Moorings

Following discussions with our representatives at each marina and the phone around to all members, Christine prepared a report detailing the issues at each site. This included suggestions from the boaters to improve the situation. It is important to develop a holistic rather than piecemeal policy for security across the network and it was also suggested that we should make contact with the local MSPs along the network. The report was sent to SC but no response so far. A copy of the report will be in the next newsletter.

ACTION – All, comments and suggestions would be welcome.

Following further issues at The Kelpies involving boats set on fire and set adrift, Christine and Neil attended a useful meeting with affected boaters on site.

15. Government Fuel Credit

The government has stated that each person using electricity will be given a £400 credit from their electricity supplier to alleviate the major increase in fuel costs. SC supply electricity at each mooring but is not a commercial supplier. Following Christine’s letter, SC confirmed that they will not be passing on any fuel rebate to boaters. The IWA have prepared a letter to be sent to MPs to increase awareness of the situation and hopefully provoke a sympathetic response.

ACTION – Neil to prepare a note explain the situation a send it to all members with a request to send it to their MP and to pass it on to all boaters on the network.

16. Auchinstarry Issues

Shortage of parking spaces is becoming a problem, particularly at weekends. The boaters are trying to get reserved parking bays for residential boaters. This is complicated by some boaters having more than one car, the old Mercedes which appears to have been dumped and the additional container recently delivered for the gardeners. It was agreed that adequate parking should be provided for both residential and leisure boaters but that individual marked spaces were not required.

ACTION – Christine to check what parking rights are included in the contract for residential boaters.

17 Concerns

Staff shortages are having a significant effect on maintenance work on the network.

An annual weeding programme would be better than spot weeding of areas.

End to end transit by yachts has reduced significantly because owners are concerned about the reliability of the canal because of issues with gates, bridges, weed etc.

Motorbikes using the towpath are a new hazard.

SC appear to be having issues with funding which may result in the closure of the western section beyond Maryhill or reclassification as a remainder canal.

18. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held at 18:30hrs on Monday 22nd August using Zoom.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 13th JUNE 2022

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel and Neil Kitchener.

Input from Len Stevens

Apologies: Don Williams, Len Stevens, Colin Robertson

1 Finance

No update on finance or membership due to illness.

2. Navigation and Safety Committee

The next meeting is on 4th July. Hopefully we will make some progress in completing some of the issues.

SC are still prepared to carry out training for boaters who wish to operate locks and bridges.

ACTION – Don to circulate members and send list of trainees to SC, ongoing

3. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The next meeting is scheduled for 16th June and will be reported next month.

4. Communications

Colin and Don are concerned that the sub-group is not effective in responding to their suggestions and is ineffective. The attendance at the meetings is poor and no minutes are produced. SC do not follow up on issues raised and do not seem to understand the importance and significance of good communications to the boaters and to their own staff. They intend to question whether the subgroup should be disbanded at the next meeting.

5. Events

The Flotilla 200 which took place over 20/21 May was predominately supported by the charity boats. Although it was not particularly well attended by ordinary boaters, SC reckon it was a success.

The start of the Dandelion Project is approaching, the boats are being prepared at Auchinstarry and will head to Glasgow shortly to start their programme. Details of the performances etc are still awaited and will be included in the next newsletter.

The Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights will be held on 5th November and SC have now agreed that the Wheel will operate until Tuesday 8th November to allow boats from the F&C to participate. Pierre would like assistance in organising the event since it is becoming too much for one person. Christine and Pierre have pulled together a plan.

ACTION – Pierre is to summarise what assistance he requires and prepare a brief so we can look for volunteers.

6. Cruising Awards

The new series of challenges have been advertised in the newsletter and our website. SC have agreed to include details in their next newsletter and also on their website. There are still issues with accessing Port Dundas but SC are aware that the challenge will run again and we are chasing them through the Nav and Safety Committee to get it repaired in time.

Morag has received her prize of a Navigation Licence for 2022 for winning last year’s challenge.

7. Pricing Review

A copy of Neil’s report on the Pricing Review has been put in the newsletter and on the website. The boaters at Auchinstarry are concerned that it has been classified as a marina.

The SWfA subgroup will be involved in developing the Customer Charter which will cover issues such as substandard facilities, restrictions to navigation, public use of boater’s facilities and will set out what remedies will be applied in the event of failure by SC to honour their obligations.

8. Annual General Meeting

The AGM will be held on Monday 24th October at 18:30hrs. The venue is to be decided.

9. Continuous Cruising

The issue of continuous cruising is still being investigated. SC have responded to Christine’s letter but further questions have been submitted asking for clarity on their position, awaiting a response.

10. Lowland Canals User Group Meeting

Christine has raised a complaint that the minutes of the meeting held on28th April have still not been issued for approval. We should take notes at future meetings so that we can check and amend their minutes if necessary

Sean suggested that we prepare an agenda so that we can influence the discussion during Q&A, maybe taking ten minutes at the start of the session and break into groups to brainstorm ideas.

ACTION – Christine to ask Sean to submit his ideas for improving the meeting to the committee.

11.Transfer of Moorings on Sale of Boats

SC maintain that moorings cannot be transferred when a boat is sold and the new owner must go on the waiting list. This makes selling a boat almost impossible. However, there are many instances where moorings have been transferred. One possible solution is for the seller to retain a £1 stake in the boat, thereby sharing ownership. Christine has sent a letter to SC and is awaiting a response.

12. Maintenance Facility at Lock 16

SC’s intention with regard to the establishment of a maintenance facility at Falkirk is unclear. Paula Carson has indicated that it may not go ahead.

ACTION – Neil to raise the issue at the SWfA meeting and recommend that a sub-group is set up to develop the scheme for the benefit of the boaters.

13. Paddle Boarders and Other Canal Users

It was suggested that companies who use the canal for training sessions should make a payment to SC.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC.

14. Contact with Members

Christin is three quarters of the way through contacting members to find out if they have any issues and discussing aspect of security at their moorings.

ACTION – Christine to complete the phone around and report back at the next meeting.

15. Government Fuel Credit

The government has stated that each person using electricity will be given a £400 credit from their electricity supplier to alleviate the major increase in fuel costs. SC supply electricity at each mooring but it is unclear whether they will pass on this credit to their users. Christine has written write to SC to clarify the situation. SC have acknowledged receipt of the letter but has not yet given a considered response. It was suggested that individual boaters should write to SC to prompt a response.

16. Security at Moorings

Following discussions with our representatives at each marina and the phone around to all members, Christine is preparing a report detailing the issues at each site. This will including suggestions from the boaters to improve the situation. It is important to develop a holistic rather than piecemeal policy for security across the network and it was suggested that we should make contact with the local MSPs along the network.

ACTION – All to review and comment on the draft report so that it can be issued to SC next week and discussed in detail at the next meeting

17. Auchinstarry Issues

Len raised the question of the refurbishment of the steps and picnic area behind the facilities block. He was advised that the boaters should progress the matter themselves. LCA will only get involved if a satisfactory resolution is not forthcoming.

18. Next Meeting

Now the Union Inn at Lock 16 has reopened as a restaurant, it is possible that we would be able to have meetings there. Zoom or face to face meetings are to be discussed at the next meeting.

The next meeting will be held at 18:30hrs on Monday 18th July using Zoom.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 9th May 2022

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Don Williams, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Len Stevens and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies from Pierre Potel and Colin Robertson.

1 Finance

The finances are in good shape, 3 members have renewed this month and there are 7 outstanding renewals. Don sends out regular reminders to defaulters setting out the 4 options for payment.

2. Navigation and Safety Committee

The last meeting was held on 2nd May, notes for the meeting will be put on the website when they have been approved. Limited progress has been made but a number of issues have been closed out although some have been on for a long time. SC claimed that lack of resources and problems with budget approvals have delayed progress. SC said that they were still having difficulties recruiting permanent and seasonal staff but do not appear to have followed up Len’s idea of alternative sources of recruitment. It would appear that they only intend employing 6 seasonal staff on the Lowland Canals which is less than before.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC about lack of recruitment, suggesting that they offer jobs to volunteers.

Christine wrote to SC to follow up the FoI Request for details of staffing levels over the past 9 years. They acknowledged receipt but have still not provided any substantive information

SC awarded contracts to subcontractor for the level controls on the Union Canal who have not performed and have terminated their contract.The subcontractor who carried out the refurbishment of the facilities block at Bowling had to return to replace defective work.

Work on the Auchinstarry pontoons is underway but the finger jetties have still to be completed, however there is concern about disturbing swallows nests. The sluice has been repaired but the flush does not work. The sluice room is now included in the contract for cleaning the block.

Mark Smith advised that new security cameras are being installed at Auchinstarry but deterrence is more important than catching offenders. SC have no intention of reinstating security patrols.

1,000 tonnes of silt was dredged from Ratho. Weed cutting is underway.

Stockingfield junction is okay for narrow boats but a transit yacht struck an underwater object. The dredging team will deal with it once the sonar survey has identified the object and will then proceed to the emergency evacuation points.

SC are still prepared to carry out training for boaters who wish to operate locks

ACTION – Don to circulate members and send list of members wanting training to SC,

3. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The next meeting is not scheduled until 16th June.

4. Communications

Colin and Don are concerned that the sub-group is not effective in responding to their suggestions and is ineffective. The attendance at the meetings is poor and no minutes are produced. SC do not follow up on issues raised and do not seem to understand the importance and significance of good communications to the boaters and to their own staff. They intend to question whether the subgroup should be disbanded at the next meeting.

5. Events

2022 is the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Union Canal and lots of events and displays are planned throughout the year. The organisation by SWfA for Flotilla 200 which includes two flotillas converging on Linlithgow over 20/21 May is well in hand. Regular updates giving details of the events and organisation are issued by newsletter which will be sent to LCA members for information.

The Dandelion Project to encourage growing of plants will take the form of a flotilla of boats dressed with gardening themes travelling between Glasgow, Edinburgh and The Kelpies during June/July. There will be displays and events with public participation at numerous venues along the canals. Iain Withers is in charge and is looking for assistance with boats and crew. Updated details will be included in the May newsletter

ACTION – Christine to forward further details to members as and when it becomes available.

The Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights will be held on 5th November and SC have now agreed that the Wheel will operate until Tuesday 8th November to allow boats from the F&C to participate. Pierre would like assistance in organising the event since it is becoming too much for one person.

ACTION – Christine to discuss what Pierre is looking for in terms assistance and prepare a brief so we can look for volunteers.

6. Cruising Awards

The new series of challenges will be advertised in both the next newsletter and the LCA website. SC have agreed to include details in their next newsletter and also their website. There are still issues with accessing Port Dundas but SC are aware that the challenge will run again and we are chasing them through the Nav and Safety Committee to get it repaired in time.

7. Pricing Review

The Pricing Review has been finalised and Catherine Topley has sent a letter to all boaters giving a resume of the results with a link to the final version of the report. Neil has written a report to explain the concessions which the sub-group managed to achieve during the negotiations. This report has been sent to all committee members, SWfA and SC. A copy will be put in the newsletter and on the website.

The subgroup will be involved in developing the Customer Charter which will cover issues such as substandard facilities, restrictions to navigation, public use of boater’s facilities and will set out what remedies will be applied in the event of failure by SC to honour their obligations.

The new mooring charges will be applied when licences are renewed for each boat rather than from 1st June across the board. Don expressed concern that the way CPI is applied might be problematic, this will be reviewed at the next SWfA meeting.

8. Annual General Meeting

It was agreed this year’s AGM would be held at the end of October/early November. A suitable venue will be sorted nearer the time.

ACTION – Christine to propose a date for approval by the committee so that it can be included in the next newsletter.

9. Continuous Cruising

The issue of continuous cruising is still being investigated. SC have responded to Christine’s letter but further questions will be sent asking for clarity on their position.

10. Lowland Canals User Group Meeting

Christine has chased Scott for a copy of the minutes of the meeting for approval prior to going onto the SC website. We should take notes at future meetings so that we can check and amend their minutes if necessary

Sean suggested that we prepare an agenda so that we can influence the discussion during Q&A, maybe taking ten minutes at the start of the session and break into groups to brainstorm ideas.

It was agreed that a mixed meeting, some in person, some on Zoom is not a good idea since those on Zoom find it hard to participate. A face to face meeting is best. In order to encourage more participation, maybe transport can be arranged for those who find it difficult to get to the meeting. It might be useful to meet in a pub afterwards for a discussion on the meeting.

11 Glasgow Branch

There are still issues with sensors and software on Garscube Bridge. Although Glasgow boaters have been trained to use it as well as Spiers Wharf and Appplecross bridges, their training has not been signed off and they still have to give 24hrs notice to open bridges.

12 AirBnB

SC maintain that if boats are let out regularly through AirBnB or similar then they should be on a commercial mooring

13.Transfer of Moorings on Sale of Boats

SC maintain that moorings cannot be transferred when a boat is sold and the new owner must go on the waiting list. This makes selling a boat almost impossible. However, there are many instances where moorings have been transferred. One possible solution is for the seller to retain a £1 stake in the boat, thereby sharing ownership.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC asking for clarification.

14. Next Meeting

Now the Union Inn at Lock 16 has reopened as a restaurant, it is possible that we would be able to have meetings there. Once face to face meetings are resumed, the location of the monthly meeting could be varied.

The next meeting will be held at 18:30hrs on Monday 13th June using Zoom.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 4th April 2022

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Don Williams, Pierre Potel, Colin Robertson, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Len Stevens and Neil Kitchener.       Apologies from Alex Kellas.

1 Finance

The finances are in very good shape including payment to Mainplus for managing the website. 5 members have lapsed and 2 members have renewed this month. Don sends out regular reminders to defaulters setting out the 4 options for payment. Pierre stated that he had difficulty renewing his membership through the website.  

3. Navigation and Safety Committee

The notes for the meeting on 7th March are now on the website. Limited progress has been made and only a few issues have been closed out. SC claimed that lack of resources and problems with budget approvals have delayed progress. SC said that they were still having difficulties recruiting permanent and seasonal staff. It would appear that they only intend employing 6 seasonal staff on the Lowland Canals which is less than before. Sean commented that a good seasonal worker at Glasgow applied for a permanent position but was turned down.

Christine wrote to SC to follow up the FoI Request for details of staffing levels over the past 9 years. They acknowledged receipt but have still not provided any substantive information

SC has requested tenders from third parties to replace the rubbing strip at Ratho and fix the faulty sluice at Auchinstarry. McKenzie was contracted to carry out dredging works at Ratho but they may have used SC staff and equipment for the work.

Work on the Auchinstarry pontoons has been delayed but the weed cutter has been at work already.

A temporary fix by using plywood to seal the leaks through the gates on Lock 8 should allow access down to the Kelpies through the season. The permanent solution of new gates is still awaited.

4. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The last meeting was held on 3rd March. Richard Millar gave a presentation on commercial and operational issues affecting the canals. Most of the expenditure will be on the Caledonian Canal to ensure transits are feasible. Josie gave a presentation about communications but did not say much about issues directly affecting boaters

ACTION – Don to forward the presentation to the committee

SC have decided to supply HVO fuel from Auchinstarry and Broxburn next time the storage tanks need refilling.

SC are keen to expand the use of volunteers and Karen Bradford (Sorted Project) is taking a leading role in Edinburgh, Go Forth and Clyde, previously known as ReUnion has taken on the volunteers contract in Falkirk to operate the locks from Lock 20 to the Kelpies but there are no volunteer groups on the F&C West of Kilsyth.

5. Communications

SC do not follow up on issues raised by the Colin’s subgroup and do not seem to understand the importance and significance of good communications to the boaters and to their own staff. There should be another meeting shortly when issues affecting boaters will be raised.

Whitespacers are developing the new website and on completion, they will ask a selection of users to trial and test the final product in due course but no news of progress so far.

6. Events

2022 is the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Union Canal and lots of events and displays are planned throughout the year. The organisation by SWfA for Flotilla 200 which includes two flotillas converging on Linlithgow over 20/21 May is well in hand. Regular updates giving details of the events and organisation are issued by newsletter which will be sent to LCA members for information.

It has been suggested that LCA might like to set up a stall at Linlithgow advertise ourselves.

The Dandelion Project to encourage growing of plants will take the form of a flotilla of boats dressed with gardening themes travelling between Glasgow, Edinburgh and The Kelpies during June/July. There will be displays and events with public participation at numerous venues along the canals. Iain Withers is in charge and is looking for assistance with boats and crew. Details will be included in the April newsletter

ACTION – Christine to forward further details to members as and when it becomes available.

SC refused to allow the Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights on our preferred date of November 12th and have offered November 5th instead. However,they have said that all boats must descend the Wheel by Sunday evening. The date clashes with Bonfire Night and it is physically impossible for boats to travel from Edinburgh to Falkirk in one winter day with restricted daylight.

ACTION – Pierre to write to SC to resolve the problem and ask if they would be prepared to provide assistance or finance to enhance the organisation of the flotilla.

7. Cruising Awards

We intend to run a series of challenges this year. In addition to the original Millennium Challenge, we might add other events such as the fastest trip from Edinburgh to Glasgow, up the Forth to Stirling and the Clyde to Rutherglen as well as a prize for the boat which covers the most distance in the season. They will be advertised from about Easter to give more time for boaters to complete the challenges. There are still issues with accessing Port Dundas but SC are aware that the challenge will run again and hope to get it repaired in time.

8. Issues at Auchinstarry

Richard Millar had proposed setting up a small Auchinstarry users group who could resolve local issues and improve the quality around the marina. In theory, a good idea. Christine asked SC what they would offer if such a group was set up but is still awaiting a response from Mark Smith.

9. Pricing Review

The sub-group have received a confidential draft copy of the proposed pricing review for appraisal and the issues with the Facilities Matrix appear to have been incorporated. The meeting with the consultants, Gerald Eve and Tourism Resource Company took place but no definitive conclusion or changes have been issued so far. Depending on their reaction to our comments, we may have to consider whether any further action is called for. We have to raised the issues of the deterioration of the facilities blocks on the majority of the sites, restrictions to navigation caused by closures/limited opening hours and the capping of any excessive increases and await a response.

SC hope to issue the report by the middle of April with the new rates taking effect six weeks later. The new rates will be applied when licences are renewed rather than all on the same day.

It was agreed that when the final review has been published and analysed, the LCA would hold an extraordinary meeting of all boaters to discuss the issues.

10. Annual General Meeting

It was agreed that the date for this year’s meeting would be decided and publicised well ahead of the meeting to encourage attendance by as many members as possible. A suitable venue will be sorted nearer the time.

11. Boat Maintenance

No response yet to Christine’s letter regarding the proposed maintenance facilities at Falkirk

12. Continuous Cruising

The issue of continuous cruising which is an acceptable way of operating on the English Canals has been raised. Continuous cruisers do not need to have a permanent home mooring but must move at least every 14 days to comply with the legislation. They only need a navigation licence and pay no mooring fees. British Waterways banned the practice in Scotland in 2003 but this may be outwith their legislative powers. The canal environment in Scotland is different from that in England but continuous cruising might free up berths to allow new boats onto the network.

SC have not yet responded to Christine’s letter asking for clarity on their position.

13. Electric Meter Readings

In view of the frightening increases in charges for electricity, a note recommending that boaters should read and record their meter readings so that they are not charged at the higher rate should be included in the April Newsletter.

14. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held at 18:30hrs on Monday 9th May using Zoom.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 28th FEBRUARY 2022

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Don Williams, Pierre Potel, Colin Robertson, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Len Stevens, Alex Kellas and Neil Kitchener.

1 Finance

The finances are in very good shape. I new member joined this month and Don has sent out reminders to members whose subscriptions have recently expired.

2. LCA Committee

Alex Kellas has volunteered to join the committee following Robin’s retirement. The proposal by Christine, seconded by Len, was approved by the committee and she was given a vote of thanks for joining. Alex is based in Edinburgh on her boat “Sweet Dreams”

3. Navigation and Safety Committee

The notes for the meeting on 17th January are now on the website and the next meeting is on Zoom on 7th March. Hopefully, some progress will have been made on closing out some of the issues.

Christine wrote to SC to follow up the FoI Request for details of staffing levels over the past 9 years. They acknowledged receipt but have not yet provided any substantive information.

Christine wrote to SC with suggested details for recruitment websites which might lead to an increase in applications for employment.

4. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The next meeting will be held on 3rd March.

SC have still to complete their review of the use of HVO.

SC are keen to expand the use of volunteers and will follow up suggestions from IWA that the Waterways Recovery Group could deal with some outstanding works such as the shallow sheet piles at Port Dundas and the fitting of bywashes to some locks on the route down to Bowling.

5. Communications

SC acknowledged that there had been a total breakdown in communications over the fiasco of the early closure of the Falkirk Wheel. The Wheel reopened on 18th February but navigation to and from the Kelpies is impossible due to serious problems with leakage through the gates on Lock 8. There is no clear plan yet on the proposed remedial works and the earliest the lock could be operational is mid-March. There has still not been any formal notification about the closure which has been known about since early February.

SC may be very good at blowing their own trumpet when it comes to PR and advertising their good works to third parties. However, the committee are extremely concerned that SC do not seem to understand the importance and significance of good communications to the boaters and to their own staff. Although Scott Lamond is on the sub-group, he does not deal with boaters or internal communications. SC do not follow up on issues raised by the Colin’s subgroup.

SC has awarded a contract to Whitespacers to develop their new website. They have discussed the existing website with a number of interested parties and are now actively developing the new site. On completion, they will ask a selection of users to trial and test the final product ion due course.

6. Events

2022 is the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Union Canal and lots of events and displays are planned throughout the year. The main event is Flotilla 200 which includes two flotillas converging on Linlithgow over 20/21 May with various events along the way. It is being organised by SWfA and a link to the website, hosted by Stuart Rennie of LUCS, will be included in the newsletter to advise members of the details of the events.

Christine Mackay has suggested that we might like to share a stall at Narrowboat Farm to advertise LCA. However, a stall at Linlithgow might be a more practical idea.

ACTION – Christine to ask for more details

There is a proposal to run a series of events along the canal under the Dandelion Project to encourage growing of plants during June/July. Further details will be sent out as they become available.

The Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights was a great success last year, despite a few teething problems. It was agreed that we should confirm a date for this year so that people can put it in their diary and issues with SC closures can be resolved in good time. It may be that SC would be prepared to provide assistance or finance to enhance the organisation of the flotilla.

ACTION – Pierre to write to SC to sound them out.

SC are proposing to have a mural painted on Stockingfield Bridge by a local artist from Lambhill Stables

7. Cruising Awards

We intend to run a series of challenges this year. In addition to the original Millennium Challenge, we might add other events such as the fastest trip from Edinburgh to Glasgow, up the Forth to Stirling and the Clyde to Rutherglen as well as a prize for the boat which covers the most distance in the season. They will be advertised from about Easter to give more time for boaters to complete the challenges. There are still issues with accessing Port Dundas but SC are aware that the challenge will run again and hope to get it repaired in time.

8. Issues at Auchinstarry

SC have still not started work on redecking the remaining pontoons or upgrading the faulty sluice.

Sean commented that the company teaching paddleboarders on the canal are proposing to increase their training in the marina which will only worsen the friction with the boaters.

ACTION – Sean to pass contact details to Len who will make contact to set up a dialogue with the company.

Richard Millar had proposed setting up a small Auchinstarry users group who could resolve local issues and improve the quality around the marina. In theory, a good idea. Christine asked SC what they would offer if such a group was set up but is still awaiting a response from Mark Smith.

9. Pricing Review

The sub-group have received a confidential draft copy of the proposed pricing review for appraisal and the issues with the Facilities Matrix appear to have been incorporated. A meeting has been arranged with the consultants, Gerald Eve and Tourism Resource Company next week for the sub-group to raise issues and concerns. Depending on their reaction to our comments, we may have to consider whether any further actions are called for. We will certainly have to raise the issues of the deterioration of the facilities blocks on the majority of the sites and restrictions to navigation caused by closure and limited opening hours. SC have agreed that Causeway End will now be compared with Falkirk rather than Linlithgow.

It was agreed that when the final review has been published and analysed, the LCA would hold an extraordinary meeting of all boaters to discuss the issues.

10. Annual General Meeting

It was agreed that the date for this year’s meeting would be agreed and publicised well ahead of the meeting to encourage attendance by as many members as possible. A suitable venue will be sorted nearer the time.

11. Boat Maintenance

No response yet to Christine’s letter regarding the proposed maintenance facilities at Falkirk

12. Continuous Cruising

Barney Soward raised the issue of continuous cruising which is an acceptable way of operating on the English Canals. Continuous cruisers do not have to have a permanent home mooring but have to move at least every 14 days to comply with the legislation. They only need a navigation licence and pay no mooring fees. British Waterways banned the practice in Scotland in 2003 but this may be outwith their legislative powers.

ACTION – Christine to draft a letter to SC asking for clarity on their position and send it around the committee for comment prior to sending it.

13. Shaun Niven

Christine sent a letter of condolence to his Shaun Niven’s family via Paula Carson.

14. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on 28th March at 18:30 hrs on Zoom.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 24th January 2022

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Don Williams, Pierre Potel, Colin Robertson, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Len Stevens and Neil Kitchener.

1 Finance

The finances are in very good shape, 7 members have been deleted from the register for non-payment of dues. The £30 payment for the photographic competition was approved.

2. LCA Committee

Following Robin’s retirement due to technological complications we need to find a suitable, willing replacement.

ACTION – Christine to sound out possible candidates and advertise in the next Newsletter.

Following Gordon’s suggestion at the AGM, it was agreed the Christine’s title should be changed from Chair to Convenor.

3. Navigation and Safety Committee

The notes for the meeting on 17th January will be put on the website once they have been accepted by SC. The meeting went well with a full attendance from SC this time although not much progress had been made to close out the issues

SC are still having serious issues recruiting seasonal and permanent staff which, in addition to staff isolating due to contact with Covid, is creating serious difficulties with completion of outstanding work items. The response to the adverts has been poor, maybe because of lack of clarity about salaries and conditions. SC confirmed that they do not offer zero hours contracts and try to keep to the living wage. Len suggested that they should place adverts in Countryside Job Search (CJS) where people who are interested in getting training for environmental jobs would look.

ACTION – Len to research suitable locations for placing adverts and suggest topics to include in order to attract applicants such as possibilities for training.

The response to our FoI Request for details of staffing levels over the past 9 years was woefully inadequate. There no clarity about the numbers of staff actually employed on maintenance and bankside duties nor details about how many staff are required to carry out these duties. A number of M&E staff have resigned recently, causing further delays to work. SC have taken on apprentices but only for M&E positions

ACTION – Don and Christine to review information and respond to SC.

Tommy Thomson is still reviewing the list of boaters wanting training for self-operation of locks and bridges. Don is still awaiting confirmation from Tommy about training dates.

Sonar surveys have not yet been carried out because the new Berky has not been fully commissioned.

Dredging of the channel at Ratho is scheduled to start next week. Boaters moored at Ratho will be requested to move their boats temporarily. The emergency evacuation points between Stockingfield and Bishopbriggs will be excavated once the dredging at Ratho has been completed. It was acknowledged that the information was useful for boaters.

4. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The last meeting was held on 20th January. Richard Millar gave a presentation showing details of future spending and stoppages.

SC issued a draft copy of the recent Boaters Survey and numerous errors and inconsistencies were identified. SC will update the survey before it is published.

SC have still to complete their review of the use of HVO.

SC are progressing the work on their proposed new office in Falkirk and start fitout inside the old Irn Bru building in April, aiming to take possession in summer 2023. They are still hoping to provide a maintenance facility which would include a boat lift rather than a dry dock. They have not finalised their options for the existing office complex at Applecross Street but confirmed that the maintenance facility will be retained.

SC are keen to expand the use of volunteers and will follow up suggestions from IWA that the Waterways Recovery Group could deal with some outstanding works such as the shallow sheet piles at Port Dundas and the fitting of Bywashes to some locks on the route down to Bowling.

5. Communications

The communication subgroup chaired by Colin met last week but no minutes have been issued for any of the previous meetings. Jo Spragg has transferred from Crinan and joined the Moorings team.

ACTION – Colin to chase Scott Lamond to issue the minutes.

SC acknowledged that there had been a total breakdown in communications over the fiasco of the early closure of the Falkirk Wheel. A new Boaters Newsletter will be issued shortly, hopefully, a draft copy will be circulated to the sub-group for comment prior to formal publication.

SC have awarded a contract to Whitespacers to develop their new website and are keen to get comments from as many boaters as possible as to their requirements for the site.

SC stated that they propose to reintroduce face to face User Group meetings, hopefully at the start of the season.

6. Events

Judging of the photographs of the flotilla took place on 9th January. It was won by Steve Hobson with Seppi Soutar getting a highly commended prize as well.

2022 is the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Union Canal and lots of events and displays are planned throughout the year, including a weekend flotilla to Linlithgow over 20/21 May.

Robin was our representative on the Events sub-group but relinquished his post when he retired from LCA. A replacement for Robin would be useful in order to maintain our involvement in this group.

ACTION – Anyone who is interested should contact Pat Bowie of SWfA.

7. Cruising Awards

The prizes for last years event are being distributed. We intend to run the competition again this year but advertise it from about Easter to give more time for boaters to complete the challenge. It was suggested that we may need to review the rules so that boaters are not discouraged from taking part if they think that the competition has been won already. There are still issues with accessing Port Dundas but SC are aware that the challenge will run again and hope to get it repaired in time.

8. Issues at Auchinstarry

SC are planning to start work on redecking the remaining pontoons shortly. Paula Carson is organising a contract to upgrade the faulty sluice, but no date yet for the start of work. Kirsty Hamilton is aware of the status of complaints about security, paddle boards etc which were raised a few months ago.

The steps from the back of the toilet block up to the entrance gate are dangerous and have been blocked off. The footpath between the fuel pump and the bridge onto the linear pontoon is very muddy.

ACTION – Len to write letter of complaint to SC with photos with a copy to Don and Neil for the Nav and Safety Committee.

9. Residential Boaters Organisation

There are issues in England with the imposition of new rules for Smoke Control Zones in urban areas which may limit the use of wood and coal for heating of boats. There are exemptions for using certain types of smokeless fuels or certified stoves. The legislation does not yet apply to Scotland. Colin has submitted information which will be passed around to boaters.

ACTION – Neil to forward information to members.

10. SC’s Edinburgh Offices

Christine wrote to SC about Reunion moving into the old SC offices in Lochrin Basin and asked about arrangements when SC move out of Applecross St. to Falkirk. Their response has been passed around the committee for comment.

11. Pricing Review

SWfA formed a sub-group to deal with the review and Neil is the chairman so LCA are definitely involved. The consultants, Gerald Eve and Tourism Resource Company, have been appointed and the review is ongoing at the moment. We have evaluated the Facilities Matrix issued by SC and returned it to them with our comments. SC have agreed that we will be given the opportunity to meet with the consultants once we have had time to assess a draft version of the review prior to it being finalised but we have had not yet received any information.

SC have agreed that Causeway End will now be compared with Falkirk rather than Linlithgow.

12. Annual General Meeting

The Zoom AGM was held on 20th December, however, due to the short notice, some members were unable to attend. It was agreed that the date for this year’s meeting would be agreed and publicised well ahead of the meeting to encourage attendance by as many members as possible. It is intended that the meeting will be face to face and should include the opportunity for socialising afterwards. A suitable venue will be sorted nearer the time.

13. Community Mooring Scotland

The ballot for places took place last week and about half of the applicants were successful. Boats should start arriving in a few weeks’ time. They are now actively looking for further sites, particularly on the Forth and Clyde Canal

14.Boat Maintenance

There was a full discussion about the problems of boat maintenance, both in general and specifically due to canal stoppages and limitations to canal movements. Since SC have boats that they rent ou and also their work boats it was thought that they could be approached to see where their fleet was maintained. It was also suggested that the Charity Boat organisations should be approached to see what they can offer.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC requesting information regarding the details of their planning and timescales for developing Falkirk.

ACTION – Sean to contact the charity boats to investigate the opportunities and possible limitations.

15. Shaun Niven

Shaun, the manager at the Falkirk Wheel, passed away unexpectedly last week.

ACTION – Christine to send a letter of condolence to his family.

16. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on 28th February at 18:30 hrs on Zoom.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 15th NOVEMBER 2021

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Don Williams, Pierre Potel, Colin Robertson, and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies

Robin Fryer, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Len Stevens

1 Finance

The finances are in very good shape, 2 new members and 3 renewals this month.

2. Navigation and Safety Committee

The notes for the meeting on 1st November are now on the website. The next meeting is scheduled for 17th January.

Tommy Thomson is still reviewing the list of boaters wanting training for self-operation of locks and bridges. Don is still awaiting confirmation from Tommy about training dates.

SC are still having serious issues recruiting seasonal and permanent staff which, in addition to staff isolating due to contact with Covid, is creating serious difficulties with completion of outstanding work items.

Mark Smith commented that some of the issues on the tracker are not Nav or Safety related, LCA disagreed. We are still awaiting an answer to our suggestion of providing boaters with security cameras.

The response to our Freedom of Information Request for details of staffing levels over the past 9 years has been received but the information provided is woefully inadequate. Once it has been analysed a request for further clarification will be submitted to SC.

ACTION – Don and Christine to review information and respond to SC.

3. Dredging and Weed Control

Karen Bradford of the Sorted Project is proposing to set up a training course for the YHA Helmsman certification. There was a suggestion that LCA might pay for training of members who could then be trained to drive the Truxors, depending on the costs.

ACTION – Sean to contact Karen to follow up arrangements and costs for training

ACTION – Christine to write to SC.

SC have completed the work at Stockingfield to remove obstructions in the channel and the team has  headed to the Union Canal where they have a dredging budget of £50k for this winter. Hopefully, this will pick up all areas where limited depth was identified by a sonar survey. It would be useful to understand the detailed dredging programme and what £50k represents in terms of hours of work. The new pontoon will shortly be transferred from Auchinstarry to Inverness to work on the Caledonian Canal.

ACTION – Don to add a request for details of the sonar survey to the Nav and Safety tracker.

4. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The last meeting was meeting was held on 4th November. Richard Millar gave a presentation showing where they were spending their money, the majority is on the maintenance of the Caledonian and Crinan Canals. The maintenance of the Falkirk Wheel will now take place between the 10th and 18th February but the canal will be closed at Bonnybridge from 8th November February. The upgrading of the facilities blocks across the network and Stockingfield Bridge are ongoing. SC are investigating supplying HVO as an alternative to red diesel if they can resolve the issue of tax rebates when it is used for heating.

ACTION – Neil to forward Richard Millar’s presentation to the committee when it is received.

SC are still keen to progress user operation although there may be issues with Edinburgh pump outs and difficulties with some locks and bridges, Colin confirmed that the training on the Glasgow bridges is ongoing. Garscube Bridge has now been handed over to SC and can now be operated by trained boaters. Sean took a party of journalists involved in COP26 for a cruise on the Navvies Barge but was unable to pass Garscube bridge due to a fault.

SC won an ICE award for Innovation for the Glasgow Smart Canal which will allow large areas of land near the canal to be developed.

5. Communications

The Lowland Canals Users Meeting was held on 27th October but some boaters had problems logging on to the website and could not attend the meeting. LCA submitted a list of 12 questions from our members most of which were not answered. SC were asked to respond to each question in writing but no reply has been received yet. Neil spoke to Scott Lamond who said that he would progress the response.

SC are planning to send out a survey to all boaters but no deadline as been fixed.

6. Events

The Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights is scheduled for the coming weekend. Copies of Christine Mckay’s flyer and leaflets about Community Moorings Scotland were distributed to boaters along both canals to encourage participation in the event and 15 boats are expected to attend. Although the Wheel maintenance programme was specifically delayed till February, SC announced last week that the canal between Bonnybridge and Falkirk will be closed from 8th November ftill 11th March to enable the installation of sheet piles to strengthen sections of Rowantree embankment near Bonnybridge. Following complaints about the total lack of notification, SC agreed to provide 3 hire boats for free to allow boaters from West of Bonnybridge to attend.

The Quaich for the winner of the best lit up boat in the flotilla has been purchased. Pierre proposed asking children to be judges. It is unlikely that food will be available at the end of the flotilla because of the shortage of restaurants nearby, uncertainty about numbers and the ongoing Covid situation,.

ACTION – Pierre to send out the final details for the weekend to all attendees.

A sum of £100 was agreed to pay for the photographer as well as a £30 prize for the best photo from a member of the LCA.

ACTION – Sean to provide contact details for his photographer so Pierre can check his availability.

Christine agreed to write up a report of the event and look at possible improvements for next year.

7. Cruising Awards

At least 4 boaters have attempted to complete the challenge so far, but nobody has managed to get beyond Spiers Wharf. The submissions will be reviewed and the result announced early in December. SWfA or LCA may have to provide money for the prizes for the runners up.

ACTION – Neil and Don to review the submissions and decide on the allocation of prizes.

8. Issues at Auchinstarry

SC have still not started work on the redecking the remaining pontoons which are in urgent need of repair. LCA will continue to monitor the situation. In addition to numerous broken boards, the decking is covered in slime and moss, creating a potential safety hazard. Photos have been taken and sent to SC.

The camera survey for the sluice has confirmed that there is a serious design fault. SC are now proposing to dig up the existing drainpipe and replace it.

There have been three break-ins in the last year and the existing security camera system does not work. A costed plan to equip boats with security cameras linked to mobile phones has been prepared and submitted to SC to see if they will pay. Failing that, the information will be passed to the boaters. Still no response.

ACTION – Christine to chase up SC for a response to our proposal.

9. Paddle Boarders

Robin’s Navigation Protocols explaining the rules of the road for paddle boarders etc has been completed. It will be put on the website and sent round to all our members as well as Scottish Canals.

ACTION – Don to send the leaflet and LCA application forms to SC and all paddle boarder organisations.

10. Newsletter

The newsletter will continue regularly and act as a water telegraph along the canal. If you have any news items or interesting information you wish to share, please submit them to the committee.

11. Residential Boaters Organisation

We have joined the Residential Boaters Organisation who have an overview of the rights of residential boaters in England. Details of the LCA aims and objectives, as well as information about our petition for an independent ombudsman were forwarded to them. Although the legislation is different there is likely to be some overlap in certain areas.

12. SC’s Edinburgh Offices

Christine wrote to SC about Reunion moving into the old SC offices in Lochrin Basin and asked whether similar arrangement will be made when SC move their office to the new development in Falkirk. No response yet.

ACTION – Christine to chase SC for a response once the 20 days are up.

Capercaillie has moved their registered office to the Boarders.

13. Pricing Review

SC have started to carry out the pricing review, using the same methodology as last time and are currently selecting two partners to carry out the review. Neil and Christine attended a Zoom meeting with Richard Millar, Josie Saunders and Fiona Macfadyen to review progress. It is hoped that a meeting will be arranged with the successful contractors so that any factual errors can be corrected before the report is published. Items of concern include the facilities matrix for each marina, the choice of zones used to calculate the average rent and the suitability of the English marinas selected for the comparison. Notes of the meeting have been distributed and are included in the November newsletter.

Although they initially agreed to involve LCA in the review, it would now appear that they are trying to involve SWfA. Our concern is that SWfA do not represent boaters. An emergency meeting of SWfA has been arranged for 9th December to review the issue.

ACTION – Neil to discuss with Pat Bowie and feedback.

14. Legal Advice

Following a debate about the possibility of needing legal advice at some time in the future, it was suggested that a bartering arrangement, eg offering to loan a boat in lieu of payment, might be possible.

ACTION – Christine to contact CMS and investigate the options.

15. Annual General Meeting

The AGM will be held on 20th December on Zoom, detailed arrangements to follow. Robin Fryer will be standing down and we are seeking a replacement, see note in the newsletter for terms and conditions.

ACTION – Christine to produce a Chairperson’s Report and send round for approval. Bev to produce a Financial Report

16. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on 13th December at 18:30 hrs on Zoom unless restrictions on meeting indoors are lifted.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 18th OCTOBER 2021

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Don Williams, Pierre Potel, Robin Fryer, Colin Robertson, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Len Stevens and Neil Kitchener.

1 Finance

The finances are in very good shape, no new members this month but 7 subscriptions are outstanding. Members will be given one more warning, then their names will be removed from the register.

ACTION – Don to send out final reminders.

2. Storage for Residential Boaters

The 10 proposed new storage lockers have still not been installed at Auchinstarry. LCA will continue to monitor the situation. Lack of storage at Kirkintilloch has been raised by the boaters themselves and SC are looking at options.

3. Navigation and Safety Committee

The next meeting is scheduled for 1st November. If there is another poor turnout by SC then we will make a formal complaint

Tommy Thomson is still reviewing the list of boaters wanting training for self-operation of locks and bridges. Don is still awaiting confirmation from Tommy about training dates.

SC are still having serious issues recruiting seasonal and permanent staff which, in addition to staff isolating due to contact with Covid, is creating difficulties in carrying out their duties. It was suggested that boaters may be willing to help but there are concerns over insurance. A Freedom of Information Request for details of staffing levels over the past 9 years has been submitted to SC, with particular reference to operational staff. From conversations with bank staff it would appear that staff morale is very low and some staff, both full time and seasonal, are reluctant to renew their contracts.

4. Dredging and Weed Control

Excessive weed is causing problems along the Union Canal and on the F&C between Kirky and Glasgow and Falkirk to the Kelpies. SC have increased their fleet of weed cutters but have issues with finding sufficient staff to operate them. The new Birky cutter has hardly worked since it arrived on site in the spring due to manufacturing defects. We have tried to get boaters to volunteer for training to operate the Truxors but SC stated that volunteers need Helmsman Certification. Sean and Ian have applied to go on the list for training. Karen Bradford of the Sorted Project is proposing to set up a training course for the YHA Helmsman certification. There was a suggestion that LCA might pay for training of members, depending on the costs.

ACTION – Sean to contact Karen to follow up arrangements and costs for training

Pierre was concerned that the use of volunteers and self-operation of locks, bridges and pump-outs would allow SC to reduce staff numbers rather than increase the services provided. It would appear that the current shortage of staff means that they either cut weeds or operate bridges/locks.

ACTION- Pierre to talk to Ian to clarify the situation.

The new, small weed at Auchinstarry and Kirkintilloch has been identified as Ivy Leaf Duckweed and is still causing problems by blocking filters and heat exchangers. One boater has sent a complaint to SC with a bill for the repair of his engine but there has been no response so far. Although the weed is endemic across the UK it has not been seen in the canal before. It is important to find ways to remove it from the canal to prevent continuing damage to engines, in particular transit boats, which will all be raw water cooled. The weed may have been imported by paddle boarders, rowers or canoeists.

ACTION – Neil and Don to raise the issue at SWfA,

ACTION – Christine to write to SC.

SC have refurbished the pans and loaded an excavator which will be heading to Stockingfield to remove obstructions in the channel. The team will then head to the Union Canal where they have a dredging budget of £50k for this winter. Hopefully, this will pick up all areas where limited depth was identified by a sonar survey. It would be useful to understand the detailed dredging programme and what £50k represents in terms of hours of work. The new pontoon will shortly be transferred from Auchinstarry to Inverness to work on the Caledonian Canal.

ACTION – To be added to agenda for Nav and Safety meeting.

5. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The AGM followed by the ordinary meeting was held on 2nd September. Richard Millar gave a presentation showing where they were spending their money, the majority is on the maintenance of the Caledonian and Crinan Canals. The maintenance of the Falkirk Wheel will now take place in February which is good news for the Flotilla. SC propose to issue a consultation document on the upgrading of the facilities blocks across the network.

ACTION – Don to forward Richard Millar’s presentation to the committee when it is received.

SC are keen to progress user operation although there may be issues with Edinburgh pump outs and difficulties with some locks and bridges, Colin confirmed that the training on the Glasgow bridges is ongoing. Garscube Bridge has now been handed over to SC and can now be operated by trained boaters.

SC propose to carry out a pricing review starting in October using the same methodology as last time and are seeking a partner to carry out the review. SC has agreed that LCA should be involved and a zoom meeting has been arranged in November for Neil and Christine.

ACTION – Christine to feed back following the meeting.

Hopefully, SC will be able to confirm the cause of the blockage to the Monkland Canal feeder at the next meeting.

6. Communications

Don pointed out that the communications sub-committee was first proposed at the end of 2018. The first constructive meeting took place last month, almost three years later with Colin as the Chairman.

The Lowland Canals Users Meeting has been rescheduled for 27th October. SC are planning to send out a survey to all boaters but no deadline as been fixed.

Members were reminded that communications should only reference LCA when they have been sanctioned by the committee. However, it is the policy that boaters can raise issues in their own name in the first instance. If the issue is not resolved, then the matter will be discussed at the next committee meeting and a decision whether the LCA will support the claim will be taken.

7. Events

The Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights is scheduled for the weekend of 20th November and the Wheel maintenance has been rearranged so that access from the F&C will be possible. So far only 8 boats have been booked in. Pierre is concerned that there will not be enough boats participating to make much of a show. Christine Mckay has arranged for the printing of a leaflet which can be made into a lantern to be passed out to local people along the canal in Edinburgh. Copies will also be distributed to boaters along the F&C to encourage participation in the event.

ACTION – Neil to add an item in the next issue of the newsletter to encourage more boaters to take part in the event.

It was agreed that LCA should sponsor a prize to celebrate the life of Mary Shannon which will be awarded to the winner of the best lit up boat in the flotilla. The committee voted for Quaich No 3 but there may be issues with the inscription “The Fairy Mary Trophy”. Expenditure of £32 was authorised for the purchase.

It was agreed that £100 could be spent on sourcing fireworks for the Friday night festivities. People are expected to provide their own food for the barbecue.

ACTION – Pierre to send further information to all participants once the final details for the weekend have been sorted.

Sean’s suggestion of a photographer to record images of the event met with a mixed reception. Whilst the idea of having a selection of good photographs of the event was to be encouraged, there was concern over the costs which would deplete our funds. A sum of £300 was suggested as the upper limit. Alternative means of achieving a catalogue of photos, such as a photo competition with a prize or attracting a boater interested in photography who could photo the event from the shore.

ACTION – Sean to contact his photographer for a quotation and verify that there would be no issues with copyright.

ACTION – Christine to contact Bev to discuss the matter.

8. Boat Maintenance

Pierre’s notes regarding protective treatment for steel boats was added to the Boating Information section of the website.

9. Cruising Awards

At least 4 boaters have attempted to complete the challenge so far but have been unable to get beyond Applecross Basin. Although SC advised that boats should be able to reach Port Dundas, the boat movement team are short staffed so they are reluctant to operate the bridges and Speaker Martin’s lock. The boaters have been advised to chase up SC to see how far they can progress beyond Applecross Basin. The result will not be announced till the end of November.

ACTION – Neil to contact those boaters participating in the challenge for an update on progress.

10. Issues at Auchinstarry

SC have still not started work on the redecking the remaining pontoons which are in urgent need of repair. LCA will continue to monitor the situation. In addition to numerous broken boards, the decking is covered in slime and moss, creating a potential safety hazard

ACTION – Christine to photo dangerous planking and send through to SC via the Nav and Safety Committee.

The sluice for toilet disposal is totally unsuitable and poses a serious health issue. SC have arranged for a third party contractor to clean out the sluice and the storage tank. They will then carry out a camera survey to establish the condition of the pipe and the system.

ACTION – Len to check up when the contractor is working on the sluice to get first hand information of the findings.

There have been three break-ins in the last year and the existing security camera system does not work. A costed plan to equip boats with security cameras linked to mobile phones has been prepared and submitted to SC to see if they will pay. Failing that, the information will be passed to the boaters. No response so far.

The proposal to charge for car parking proposed by Mark Smith to pay for improvements to the CCTV has not progressed.

11. Contact with Members

Christine has contacted all members by phone or left messages. A list of all the issues raised by the boaters was passed to the committee which Don reviewed and commented on them.

Details of the issues and comments have been sent to SC for inclusion in the agenda at the next Canal Users Meeting.

ACTION – Neil to include the issues and comments in the newsletter to be sent to members.

12. Committee

Helen Denny has now agreed to be our representative at Edinburgh so the current list is:-

Bowling – Morag Brown,

Glasgow – Colin Robertson,

Kirkintilloch – Christine Mackay,

Auchinstarry – Davy Brown,

Causeway End – Robin Fryer,

The Kelpies – Dan McCole

Ratho – Pierre Potel.

Edinburgh – Helen Denny

13. Paddle Boarders

Paddle boarding is becoming increasingly popular on the canal which creates a number of issues. Paddle boarders who float near residential boats can be very intrusive and invade people’s privacy. They do not appear to understand the rules of the road when approached by powered boats. They are also affected by excessive weed growth. Robin has discussed the issue with Emma and has distributed a draft copy of his proposed guide to Julia and forwarded to the committee for comment.

ACTION – Robin to finalise the letter about Navigation Protocols explaining the rules of the road, as well as other relevant issues which will be sent round to both boaters and paddleboarders.

ACTION – Christine to send the leaflet and LCA application forms to all paddle boarder organisations.

14. Newsletter

The newsletter will continue regularly and act as a water telegraph along the canal. If you have any news items or interesting information you wish to share, please submit them to the committee.

15. IWA Membership

Membership of the IWA has been renewed.

16. Residential Boaters Organisation

Christine has been in contact with the Residential Boaters Organisation in England who have an overview of the rights of residential boaters to see whether we have any common ground. The membership fee of £30 a year to join the organisation was approved by the committee.

ACTION – Christine to join the organisation and report back to the committee.

17. SC’s Edinburgh Offices

Reunion have sold the boat used for their office and moved into the old SC offices in Lochrin Basin. Boaters from Spiers Wharf want to know if any similar arrangement would be made for them when SC move their office to the new development in Falkirk.

ACTION – Christine to research and write to SC for further information.

18. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on 15th November at 18:30 hrs on Zoom unless restrictions on meeting indoors are lifted.

The AGM will be held in December, detailed arrangements to follow.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 13th September 2021

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Don Williams, Pierre Potel, Robin Fryer, Colin Robertson, Sean McNamara and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies

Ania Neisser and Len Stevens

1 Finance

The finances are in very good shape but no new members this month.

2. Storage for Residential Boaters

The 10 proposed new storage lockers have been delivered to Auchinstarry. Tommy Thomson and Francis are arranging to meet the troops on site and progress the installation. LCA will monitor the situation. Lack of storage at Kirkintilloch is to be raised by the boaters themselves and options looked at.

3. Navigation and Safety Committee

The last meeting on 6th September was attended by Don, Neil and only Tommy Thomson from SC. Minutes to follow shortly.

Tommy Thomson is still reviewing the list of boaters wanting training for self-operation of locks and bridges. The plan will be put into operation now staff have returned from furlough. Pump out training for the remaining sites will be as per the agreed schedule.

ACTION – Don is still awaiting confirmation from Tommy about training dates.

SC are still having serious issues recruiting seasonal and permanent staff which, in addition to staff isolating due to contact with Covid, is creating difficulties in carrying out their duties. It was suggested that boaters may be willing to help but there are concerns over insurance.

The proposed evacuation points between Stockingfield and Bishopbriggs identified by Sean will be excavated over the winter.

A young paddle boarder cut his foot on an underwater object at Applecross St and SC erected barriers rather than removing the object. This response is similar to that about the hole on the jetty at Spiers Wharf. A permanent solution is required and both issues will be raised at the next meeting.

4. Dredging and Weed Control

Excessive weed is causing problems along the Union Canal and on the F&C between Kirky and Glasgow and Falkirk to the Kelpies. SC have increased their fleet of weed cutters but have issues with finding sufficient staff to operate them. The new Birky cutter has hardly worked since it arrived on site in the spring due to manufacturing defects. We have tried to get boaters to volunteer for training to operate the Truxors but SC stated that volunteers need Helmsman Certification. Sean and Colin will contact Tommy Thomson to go on the list for training. Pierre was concerned that the use of volunteers would allow SC to reduce staff numbers rather than increase the services provided. It would appear that the shortage of staff means that they either cut weeds or operate bridges/locks.

ACTION- Pierre to talk to Ian to clarify the situation.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC to ascertain the current position.

There appears to be a small, new weed at Auchinstarry and Kirkintilloch which has been passing through filters and blocking the heat exchangers in a number of boats, causing overheating and damaging engines. Photographs have been sent to SC and committee members. LCA have asked for an urgent meeting with Tommy, Julia and Davie Brown to identify the weed and find ways to remove it from the canal. The weed which may have been imported by paddle boarders.

SC have a budget of £50k for dredging on the Union Canal this winter. Hopefully, this will pick up areas where the limited depth was identified by a sonar survey.

5. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The AGM followed by the ordinary meeting was held on 2nd September. Most members of the management committee remain in post with Pat Bowie stepping up to Chairman and Neil Kitchener elected as Vice Chairman. Graham Harvey and Sandra Purves resigned although they may still be involved in working parties. They were replaced by Karen Bradford and Gordon Daly.

Richard Millar gave a presentation showing where they were spending their money, the majority is on the maintenance of the Caledonian and Crinan Canals. The maintenance of the Falkirk Wheel will now take place in February which is good news for the Flotilla. SC propose to issue a consultation document on the upgrading of the facilities blocks across the network.

ACTION – Don to forward Richard Millar’s presentation to the committee when it is received.

SC are keen to progress user operation although there may be issues with Edinburgh pump outs and difficulties with some locks and bridges, Colin conformed that the training on the Glasgow bridges is ongoing and Garscube Bridge has now been handed over to SC and now be operated by trained boaters. Lack of resources is hampering operations at present, 6 staff short in the East.

SC propose to carry out a pricing review starting in October using the same methodology as last time and are seeking a partner to carry out the review. There will be a series of consultation meetings with SWfA, LCA and boaters. It was suggested that the format used for the Stockingfield consultations was very successful and could be used.

ACTION – Colin is on the SWfA communications group and will raise the issue at the next meeting.

ACTION – Christineto write to SC and SWfA expressing interest in LCA being involved in the review

Hopefully, SC will be able to confirm the cause of the blockage to the Monkland Canal feeder at the next meeting.

SWfA are proposing to arrange a coast to coast flotilla next May to celebrate the Year of Coast and Waters.

6. Communications

The date for the closure of Stockingfield Junction to enable the placing of the deck girders have been revised following Covid related delays. There will be a full closure of the junction from 1st November to permit completion of the works.

7. Events

The only event currently planned is the Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights over the weekend of 20th November. Further information will be sent to members once the final details for access through the Wheel and the bonfire are sorted.

It was agreed that LCA should sponsor a prize to celebrate the life of Mary Shannon which will be awarded to the winner of the best lit up boat in the flotilla. Suggestions for the award included a quaich to be inscribed, handed on each year and named the Fairy Mary Lights.

8. Boat Maintenance Facilities

The maintenance facility is now set up to use the yard at Steven Kelvin Marine in Grangemouth and a number of boats have already been returned to the canal. Pierre has produced an information note about blacking boats which will be put on the website with a brief summary in the newsletter.

When Scottish Canals develop the old Barr’s Irn Bru site in Falkirk, in addition to their new office complex, they are considering including a boat lift and an area for boat maintenance. A dry dock may also be included. It is not intended to be profit making but should act to encourage boaters to move their boats from England They are looking to consult boaters with regard to maximum sizes of boats to develop their design

9. WaterNav App

The App is now live and can be accessed from Apple Store or Google Play as appropriate. Although some of the data for Scotland is out of date, it is still a useful tool to assist navigation and planning. Unfortunately, the editing software to allow users to update and add data may not be available till next year.

10. Cruising Awards

At least 3 boaters have attempted to complete the challenge so far but have been unable to get beyond Applecross Basin. SC have been advised of the problem but there appears to be a lack of staff and an unwillingness to operate the bridges and the locks to get into Port Dundas. The boaters have been advised to chase up SC to see how far they can progress beyond Applecross. The result will not be announced till the end of November.

11. Boat Surveys

Pierre has provided details of companies who can carry out Boat Safety Certification to Don for inclusion on our list of services now that Ross Hunter has retired.

ACTION – Don to update Directory.

12. Issues at Auchinstarry

SC have now completed replacing the decking on the linear pontoon at Auchinstarrry and plan to start on the remaining pontoons shortly. LCA will monitor. Other issues which were raised at Auchinstarry will be reviewed at the next meeting.

The boaters at Auchinstarry are concerned about the numbers of people using the marina for paddle boarding, canoeing and school adventure experience, some of which go on till late in the evening and invade the privacy of the residents. This was reported to SC and now some paddle boarders use the area to the West of the bridge rather than near the slipway. There are no notices about washing down boats to prevent the importation of invasive weeds or even a water supply to wash down the boards. There are also issues with overuse of the car park

Some of the organisations have keys to the toilet block and they are constantly in use which is unacceptable. The boaters have complained to SC that this is unacceptable, that they should be managing the situation and placing restrictions on what can be done and when. The lack of public toilet facilities is also a serious issue, negotiations are ongoing. SC are proposing to replace the external doors and fit key pads rather than BW locks.

The sluice for toilet disposal is totally unsuitable and poses a serious health issue. There are concerns that the pipe is damaged or there is an object blocking the trap which catches wet wipes or sanitary products, causing a blockage.

ACTION- Don to write to SC requesting urgent action on health grounds.

There have been three break-ins in the last year and the existing security camera system does not work. A costed plan to equip boats with security cameras linked to mobile phones has been prepared.

ACTION – Don to raise the issue with SC to see if they will pay, failing that the information will be passed to the boaters.

ACTIONS – Christine to forward photos to the committee, Don to write to SC expressing our concerns.

The proposal to charge for car parking to pay for improvements to the CCTV has not progressed.

13. Contact with Members

Christine has contacted all members by phone or left messages and received appreciative responses. A number of interesting relevant issues were raised by the boaters. It was agreed that the phone round should be repeated twice a year.

ACTION – Christine to summarise the issues raised and forward them to the committee.

14. Committee

Dan McCole has now agreed to be our representative at the Kelpies so the current list is:-

Bowling – Morag Brown,

Glasgow – Colin Robertson,

Kirkintilloch – Christine Mackay,

Auchinstarry – Davy Brown,

Causeway End – Robin Fryer,

Ratho – Pierre Potel.

The Kelpies – Dan McCole

We are still looking for a representative for Edinburgh and a few names were suggested.

ACTION – Christine to chase up boaters at Edinburgh.

15. Paddle Boarders

Paddle boarding is becoming increasingly popular on the canal which creates a number of issues. Paddle boarders who float near residential boats can be very intrusive and invade people’s privacy. They do not appear to understand the rules of the road when confronted by powered boats approaching them. They are also affected by excessive weed growth.

ACTION – Robin agreed to make contact with Emma to draft a letter explaining the rules of the road, as well as other relevant issues. to be sent round to both boaters and paddleboarders

16. Newsletter

The newsletter will continue regularly and act as a water telegraph along the canal. If you have any news items or interesting information you wish to share please submit it to the committee.

17. IWA Membership

It was agreed that we would renew our membership of the IWA. They have been supportive of our efforts with the Challenge and we get access to useful information and contacts through them. Colin and Christine will compare information about boaters rights between England and Scotland.

18. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on 18th October at 18:30 hrs, probably still on Zoom unless restrictions on meeting indoors are lifted. The AGM will probably be held November, details to be finalised.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 2nd AUGUST 2021

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Neil Kitchener, Don Williams, Pierre Potel and Len Stevens.

Apologies

Robin Fryer, Colin Robertson, Sean McNamara and Ania Neisser

1 Finance

The finances are in very good shape with 1 new member this month.

2. Storage for Residential Boaters

The 10 proposed new storage lockers have not yet been installed at Auchinstarry. Lack of storage at Kirkintilloch is to be raised by the boaters themselves and options looked at.

3. Navigation and Safety Committee

The last meeting was on 12th July.

Tommy Thomson is still reviewing the list of boaters wanting training for self-operation of locks and bridges. The plan will be put into operation now some staff have returned from furlough. Pump out training for the remaining sites will be as per the agreed schedule.

ACTION – Don is still awaiting confirmation from Tommy about training dates.

The damaged retaining wall at Linn’s Mill has been barriered off by SC for safety. Don has asked whether the length of fencing could be reduced so that the unaffected section of the mooring could be used and will advise the response in due course.

Following considerable pressure from the Nav and Safety Committee and the boaters themselves, SC have almost completed replacing the decking on the linear pontoon at Auchinstarrry. The remaining pontoons are still to be done. Other issues which were raised at Auchinstarry will be reviewed at the next meeting.

SC are having serious issues recruiting seasonal and permanent staff which, in addition to staff isolating due to contact with Covid, is creating difficulties in carrying out their duties.

SC have added a new section to their website which gives details of the availability of residential moorings across the network which should enable new boaters to identify opportunities for mooring their boat. There is no reference to the provision of storage for boaters.

4. Dredging and Weed Control

Excessive weed is causing problems along the Union Canal and on the F&C between Kirky and Glasgow and Falkirk to the Kelpies. Although SC have increased their fleet of weed cutters, they have issues with finding sufficient staff to operate them as well as complying with the Government Covid rules. We have tried to get boaters to volunteer for training to operate the Truxors but SC stated that volunteers need Helmsman Certification.

ACTION – Robin to contact Pat Bowie re helmsman training.

ACTION – Neil to add a note to the newsletter inviting members to volunteer by contacting Robin.

5. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

Richard Millar gave a presentation showing where they were spending their money, the majority is on the maintenance of the Caledonian and Crinan Canals. Money has been allocated to upgrade the lowland reservoirs to improve the resilience of the network. SC propose to be Carbon Zero by 2030.

ACTION – Don to forward Richard Millar’s presentation to the committee.

Hopefully, SC will be able to confirm the cause of the blockage to the Monkland Canal feeder at the next meeting.

SC confirmed that user operation for Locks 20 and 21 will not be permitted in order to maintain the integrity of the summit pound.

SWfA are proposing to arrange a coast to coast flotilla next May to celebrate the Year of Coast and Waters.

ACTION – Don to contact Scott Lamond to chase up the arrangements for the next meeting of the Communications subgroup.

6. Communications

On their website, SC usually identify the location of closures and incidents with reference to a physical feature. They have agreed to the addition of a small map to clarify the location. LCA to monitor the situation.

The date for the closure of Stockingfield Junction to enable the placing of the deck girders have been revised following Covid related delays.

7. Events

The only event currently planned is the Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights over the weekend of 20th November. Further information will be sent to members once the final details for access through the Wheel and the bonfire are sorted.

8. Boat Maintenance Facilities

The maintenance facility is now set up to use the yard at Steven Kelvin Marine in Grangemouth and 5 boat have already been lifted onto the quay. Hull preparation is progressing well.

ACTION – Pierre to produce an updated information note about the facility for the next newsletter.

9. WaterNav App

Development of the App is still undergoing user testing at present. The search facility is now under trial but there is no news about the facility for updating the existing data and adding new information when the App becomes live.

ACTION – Neil to chase up River Canal Rescue about updating the information on the App

10. Cruising Awards

The details of the cruising award have been published and the scheme is generating a lot of interest. The result will not be announced till the end of November.

11. Boat Surveys

Ross Hunter is retiring shortly which leaves Peter Curry and James Hale as the local surveyors for Boat Safety Certification Scheme.

ACTION – Pierre to send details of companies who can carry out structural surveys to Don for inclusion on our list of services.

12. Issues at Auchinstarry

The boaters at Auchinstarry are concerned about the numbers of people using the marina for paddle boarding, canoeing and school adventure experience, some of which go on till late in the evening and invade the privacy of the residents. This was reported to SC and now some paddle boarders use the area to the West of the bridge rather than near the slipway. There are no notices about washing down boats to prevent the importation of invasive weeds or even a water supply.

Some of the organisations have keys to the toilet block and they are constantly in use which is unacceptable. The boaters have complained to SC that this is unacceptable, that they should be managing the situation and placing restrictions on what can be done and when. The lack of public toilet facilities is also a serious issue, negotiations are ongoing. SC are proposing to replace the external doors and fit key pads rather than BW locks.

The sluice for toilet disposal is unreliable and appears to get blocked by wet wipes and sanitary products. SC are proposing to instal a CCTV camera to try to spot miscreants.

The proposal to charge for car parking to pay for improvements to the CCTV has not progressed.

13. Contact with Members

It was agreed that the committee will undertake to phone all members in August/September to identify problems and see whether any additional supports are needed due to restrictions or shielding. It is hoped that it will also be undertaken every 6 months to try to identify any items of concern or interest.

ACTION – Don to forward a list of members with their location and phone numbers. Christine to contact all members before the end of September and report back to the next meeting.

14. Committee

Following the letters sent to every member asking for help with the formation of local groups at the major mooring sites as proposed by Sean McNamarrra, a number of local representatives have been identified:-

Bowling – Morag Brown,

Glasgow – Colin Robertson,

Kirkintilloch – Christine Mackay,

Auchinstarry – Davy Brown,

Causeway End – Robin Fryer,

Ratho – Pierre Potel.

Representatives for the Kelpies and Edinburgh are still being sought.

ACTION – Pierre to chase up boaters at the Kelpies and Edinburgh.

These local reps need not attend Committee Meetings but act as our eyes and ears and only need to contact us when there are issues in their area to be addressed.

15. Website

The management of the Website and Mail seems to be working with Neil handling issues on the website, Don looking after membership issues and Pierre responding to mail issues. The Boating Information section of the website has been updated to include pages for Q&A for New Boaters, Giant Hogweed, Sustainable Boating and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Other items will be added as they become significant.

16. Newsletter

Any article about boating to go into the newsletter would be most welcome, eg the article about Community Moorings Scotland which appeared in Waterways World

17. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on 13th September at 18:30 hrs, probably still on Zoom unless restrictions on meeting indoors are lifted.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 21st JUNE-2021

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Neil Kitchener, Don Williams, Pierre Potel, Colin Robertson, Sean McNamara and Ania Neisser

Apologies

Len Stevens and Robin Fryer

1 Finance

The finances are in very good shape with15 new members since January.

2. Storage for Residential Boaters

Christine wrote to Scott who confirmed that 10 new storage lockers will be installed at Auchinstarry in early July.

3. Navigation and Safety Committee

The next meeting is on 5th July.

Tommy Thomson is still reviewing the list of boaters wanting training for self-operation of locks and bridges. The plan will be put into operation now the staff have returned from furlough. Pump out training for the remaining sites will be as per the agreed schedule.

ACTION – Don is still awaiting confirmation from Tommy about training dates.

Sean took the Navvies’ Barge through Stockingfield Junction and confirmed that it was safe for navigation. Christine and Neil went through the junction and noticed that boulders were present on the edge of the temporary bund and are a potential hazard to boaters. The warning signs are becoming overgrown with weeds. SC would like boaters to book passages through the junction so they can ensure their safety but they also intend to produce a video to explain how boats to and from Glasgow should navigate through the junction. Colin and Sean will review the situation when they next pass through the junction and report to SC if there are still concerns.

SC have placed double tyres as fenders on the mooring at Garscube Bridge. Not sure whether this is only a temporary measure.

The damaged retaining wall at Linn’s Mill has been barriered off by SC for safety. Don has asked whether the length of fencing could be reduced so that the unaffected section of the mooring could be used and will advise the response in due course.

Following considerable pressure from the Nav and Safety Committee and the boaters themselves, SC have started replacing the decking on the linear pontoon at Auchinstarrry following Len’s accident.

4. Dredging and Weed Control

Some boaters have expressed an interest in operating the Truxors and following a letter raising numerous queries to Mark Smith, SC have stated that volunteers need Helmsman Certification. It was suggested that Gordon Daly may be a recognised Helmsman trainer.

ACTION – Robin to contact Mark Smith and Gordon Daly re helmsman training.

5. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The next SWfA meeting is due on 1st July.

6. Communications

On their website, SC usually identify the location of closures and incidents with reference to a physical feature. They have agreed to the addition of a small map to clarify the location. LCA to monitor the situation.

7. Events

Pierre confirmed that the Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights is now confirmed for the weekend of 20th November. There has been considerable correspondence with SC about access through the Falkirk Wheel and they have reluctantly agreed that the Wheel will be open for navigation although the precise timings are not clear. If the repair work at Linn’s Mill has not been completed then an alternative location for the Friday night bonfire and barbecue may be required.

ACTION – Christine to write to Paula Carson to thank SC for their cooperation in rearranging the programme for the maintenance schedule of the Wheel to enable boaters from the Forth and Clyde to attend the event.

ACTION – Letter to be sent to members once the final details for the access through the Wheel and the bonfire are sorted.

SWfA will be publishing details for the Falkirk festival and the Union Canal Bi-Centenary in due course.

8. Boat Maintenance Facilities

The maintenance facility is now set up to use the yard at Steven Kelvin Marine in Grangemouth. It is expected to operate from mid July through September. This is a Pilot Scheme that should hopefully prove the viability of the operation. It is a one-off project that will hopefully be duplicated next year but there is no guarantee about it right now (too many unknowns until one year has been successfully accomplished).

Defects on some piping under the flooring of Sea-Lock No 1 (the new sea-lock) were investigated over the last few months and worked on by a subcontractor. Despite the work not being finished, it has been decided that the Sea Lock 1 would be put back into operation for the season and the repairs will be completed in October. Sea-lock No 1 should be used over the course of the Summer for all the boats taking part in the Maintenance Scheme.

ACTION – Pierre to produce an information note about the facility for dissemination without any reference to prices.

ACTION – Pierre to update his entry on the list of services to include reference to the Grangemouth facility and forward to Neil for inclusion on the website.

10. WaterNav App

Development of the App is still undergoing user testing at present. The search facility is now under trial. We will be looking for help to check and update the existing data as well as add new information when the App becomes live.

Colin commented that he uses an App called Waterways Routes which costs £7 per year and is regularly updated.   Waterwaysroues.co.uk/blog

10. Cruising Awards

Following a review by the committee of the proposals for the cruising awards, Neil forwarded the revised proposals to SWfA and SC to get buy in for advertising the event and providing suitable prizes. Still awaiting a response.

11. Advice to Boaters

Pierre has completed the LCA guidance note for new boaters on the issues and pitfalls of owning a boat.

ACTION – Christine to forward the set of questions and answers to SC to go on their website and also put them on the LCA website under Boating Information.

Following Christine’s letter, SC’s Welcome Pack has been updated and the reference to non-potable water at moorings has been removed. SC confirmed that the water on the moorings is supplied by Scottish Water from the mains and is fit to drink.

12. Newsletter

The newsletter covering Events, dangerous mooring at Garscube Bridge, sustainable boating and the maintenance scheme will be issued this week. Don has entered all members onto the Mail Chimp mail list.

13. Boat Surveys

Ross Hunter is retiring shortly which leaves Peter Curry and James Hale as the local surveyors for Boat Safety Certification Scheme.

ACTION – Pierre to provide details of companies who can carry out structural surveys for inclusion on our list of services.

14. Blockage to Canal Feeder

Concern was expressed about the impact on navigation along the Forth and Clyde caused by the failure of the Monkland Canal feeder pipe under the M8. Thankfully, the blockage has now been cleared and the canal is returning to normal. SC did provide information and advice in a timely manner.

ACTION – Pierre requested that Christine thanks SC for providing prompt and accurate information during this period.

15. Giant Hogweed

Pierre confirmed that Giant Hogweed is present at Ratho and is concerned about the potential for serious health issues caused by contact with the plant.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC for information about the plant so that a warning notice can be sent to the members and put on the website.

16. Issues at Auchinstarry

The boaters at Auchinstarry are concerned about the numbers of people using the marina for paddle boarding, canoeing and school adventure experience, some of which go on till late in the evening. Some of the organisations have keys to the toilet block and they are constantly in use which is unacceptable. The boaters have complained to SC that this is unacceptable an that they should be managing the situation and placing restrictions on what can be done and when. The lack of public toilet facilities is also a serious issue, negotiations are ongoing.

17. Contact with Members

It was agreed that the committee will undertake to phone all members in August/September to identify problems and see whether any additional supports are needed due to restrictions or shielding.

ACTION – A list of members with their phone numbers is to be prepared with individual committee members allocated to each one.

18. Proposed Catering Unit at Cadder

Concerns were raised about the proposal to open a catering unit at Cadder. Further information is being sought.

19. Committee

It is hoped to increase the committee, particularly by involving local groups at the major mooring sites similar to the arrangements at Glasow.

ACTION – Letters to be sent to every member asking for help.

20. Website

The issue of spam adverts and E-Mails has been resolved by Dave Potter restricting adverts to those with UK IP addresses

The role of managing the website is under review and various improvements are being investigated. The Boating Information section of the website is underused at present and it is the obvious place to file information about sustainable boating, Q&A for new boaters, warnings about giant hogweed etc.

ACTION – Neil, Don and Colin to liaise about possible changes.

22. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Monday 2nd August at 18:30 hrs, probably still on Zoom unless restrictions on meeting indoors are lifted.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 17th MAY-2021

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Chrisy Southgate, Neil Kitchener, Don Williams, Pierre Potel, Colin Robertson, and Robin Fryer

Apologies

Ania Neisser, Len Stevens and Sean McNamara

1 Finance

The finances are still very solvent. There have been eight new members and 28 renewals since January. Although we have 91 members, 32 have not renewed their membership. Renewal reminders are sent to them.

The recent leaflet drop along the network resulted in 3 new members.

2. Storage for Residential Boaters

The storage lockers at Auchinstarry will be delivered in June When LCA raised the question of theft from the lockers Scott confirmed that they will be securely fixed to the ground.

ACTION – Christine to liaise with Auchinstarry boaters.

3. Navigation and Safety Committee

The action tracker for the meeting on 10th May is now on the website.

Tommy Thomson is still reviewing the list of boaters wanting training for self-operation of locks and bridges. The plan will be put into operation now the staff have returned from furlough. Pump out training for the remaining sites will be as per the agreed schedule.

ACTION – Don to liaise with Tommy to expedite training.

It was suggested that it might be useful to carry out a trial emergency evacuation from a boat on the canal once the lockdown is over to assess the effectiveness of the procedures.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC after canals reopen.

The fencing around the dangerous section of the decking at Spiers Wharf has been reduced to allow the boaters to use tables and seating.

The sunken boat at Edinburgh is back in hands of SC legal department. The sunken boat at Brightons has been cut up and removed from the canal.

Sean will take the Navvies’ Barge through Stockingfield Junction to check the navigability of the channels through the work site on 28th May. Phase 1 of the works are now complete.

There were significant issues in making timely and proper contact with SC during the pollution incident at Ratho because of issues with the contact centre which are being investigated by SC. Although SC staff performed well, there were concerns that they did not have the appropriate equipment to deal with the emergency. Maybe a trial simulation of a spill could be carried out once the SC has issued the incident report.

Part of the retaining wall at Linn’s Mill has been damaged by an errant vehicle and the whole length of the mooring has been barriered off by SC for safety. SC have to seek funding to rebuild the wall which will require the construction of a temporary cofferdam, probably during the winter period. Don has asked whether the length of fencing could be reduced so that the unaffected section of the mooring could be used and will advise the response in due course.

4. Dredging and Weed Control

The LCA proposal to pay boaters to increase the turbidity and keep the weeds down has been rejected by SC on the grounds of finance and the provision of two new weed cutters which have now been assembled and undergoing acceptance trials at Falkirk. The existing Berkies will be taken out of service one at a time for refurbishment.

SC have suggested that they would like LCA to enquire whether they can raise volunteers to be trained to operate the Truxtors. There may be issues regarding the effect on SC staff and responsibility if things go wrong.

ACTION – Robin to contact Richard Millar to seek clarity on the suggestion for discussion with the committee.

5. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

SC are budgeting for a £1.2million spend on their digital upgrade which will include a new website and integration for all their IT systems, to be completed by 2022.

The majority of the office staff are still working from home but the bank staff have returned to work.

The breach and resilience work on the Union Canal have been completed and work has started on the reservoirs.

The hire boats will restart on 16th May and are fully booked for the season.

SWfA have set up a sub-group to organise events with particular reference to the Year of Coast and Waters in Falkirk during August this year and the bi-centenary of the Union Canal in 2022. Robin has agreed to represent the LCA.

The next SWfA meeting is due on 1st July.

6. Communications

Don attended the last meeting of the communication sub-group which appeared to be more productive. They want to increase the number of participants with 3 representatives from each of the canals.

On their website, SC usually identify the location of closures and incidents with reference to a physical feature. They have agreed to the addition of a small map to clarify the location. LCA to monitor the situation.

It would appear that four or five SC individuals are included in the LCA members address list so they will have received copies of all correspondence.

ACTION – Don to remove the names from list of members.

Christine forwarded a list of concerns raised by Auchinstarry boaters to SC. It also included photos showing the dangerous condition of some of the walkways. Chrisy and Don were extremely concerned that this duplicated the work of the Nav and Safety Committee and breached the protocol whereby boaters should first raise queries with SC. If they fail to get satisfaction, then LCA will take up the issue. The boaters had raised the issues with Mark Smith during a site visit and Christine agreed to attend the meeting with them and SC on Wednesday to discuss the items.

ACTION – Issues concerning Navigation and Safety issues to be directed through the sub-committee members.

7. Events

The canal festivals at Glasgow and Kirkintilloch have been cancelled due to Covid.

The canals are to reopen for movements on 28th May. The flotilla to Linn’s Mill to celebrate the liberation of boats over the weekend has been changed to Causeway End because of the damage to the wall. The flotilla to the Stables will go ahead if the test by Sean shows that navigation through Stockingfield Junction is safe. It was pointed out that any gathering would need to comply with the latest COVID requirements for social distancing etc. SC were advised that the flotillas will proceed.

Pierre confirmed that the Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights is currently planned for the weekend of 27th November. There has been considerable correspondence with SC about access through the Falkirk Wheel but they have reluctantly agreed to open the Wheel for navigation although the precise timings are not clear. If the repair work at Linn’s Mill has not been completed then an alternative location for the Friday night bonfire and barbecue may be required.

Christine Mckay has produced a draft advertising lantern leaflet. A leaflet will be produced once the wording has been sorted and costing agreed.

ACTION – All to review Christine’s proposal for the lantern leaflet.

8. Boat Maintenance Facilities

The yard at Steven Kelvin Marine in Grangemouth is now the preferred location for the maintenance facility. It is already an industrial site and Pierre will be trained to operate the on-site crane. The cost will be of the order of £900 for a 2 week stopover.

Chrisy raised objections on the grounds of conflict of commercial interest. It was agreed that LCA will not advertise the facility but will provide information for the benefit of boaters.

ACTION – Pierre to produce an information note for dissemination without any reference to prices.

9. WaterNav App

Development of the App is still undergoing user testing at present. A draft version of the App is available through Apple Store and Google Store and members are encouraged to download and check it out. Any queries should be sent to Neil who is on the working party developing the project. We will be looking for help to check and update the existing data as well as add new information when the facility becomes live. An updated summary of the system went out with the newsletter.

10. Bees at Auchinstarry

There appears to be limited interest from the boaters to managing a colony of bees. Christine has contacted an organisation who will provide and manage the hives but the economics do not stack up and result in the cost of £50 for a jar of honey. SC will not provide any financial assistance but will make available some land at the back of the bungalows. Karen Bradford is also investigating the possibilities for funding training for beekeeping for the Sorted Project at Ratho but the cost is too high.

11. Cruising Awards

Following a review by the committee of the proposals for the cruising awards, Neil will incorporate their comments and submit the proposals to SWfA and SC. It is essential to get buy in from SWfA and SC for advertising the event and providing suitable prizes. It was suggested that LCA could offer free membership for one year. Shields or cups which can be engraved and handed on each year would cost of the order of £50.

ACTION – Neil to forward copies of the SWfA submission to the committee.

Robin has visited Archibald Young in Kirkintilloch to investigate the provision of brass plaques representing popular destinations along the network such as The Kelpies, Falkirk Wheel, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bowling etc. They may be an opportunity to encourage boat movements and also make some money. Their process is very labour intensive so the cost is likely to be uneconomic. They will use their connections to explore whether other suppliers may be cheaper.

ACTION – Robin to follow up the visit to Archibald Young, research potential sales outlets and investigate whether there are any intellectual property rights in connection with the use of an image of the Kelpies.

12. Advice to Boaters

SC have recently issued a new version of their Welcome Pack for new boaters but an LCA guidance note on the issues and pitfalls of owning a boat would also be useful for novice boaters. It would include pitfalls to look for when buying a boat, surveys, boat safety certification, potential operating and maintenance costs, difficulties with transference of moorings etc.

ACTION – Pierre to prepare a draft in the form of Q and A, looking at the issues from a boater’s perspective.

SC’s Welcome Pack refers to non-potable water at moorings. Christine wrote to SC for clarification but has not yet received a reply.

ACTION – Christine to submit a freedom of information request to follow up her letter.

13. Newsletter

The newsletter has just been issued and the next one is due in the middle of June.

14. Scottish Canals’ Boat Fleet

Sean queried whether SC have any plans for John Hume and Blue Hue which are currently deteriorating at Spiers Wharf due to lack of use as well as Black Grouse which is moored in Edinburgh. Christine wrote to SC to ask about their long term plans for the vessels. Scott replied that SC were developing plans for their vessels. Pierre commented that he met an inspector in Glasgow carrying out structural surveys on the SC boats.

15. Boat Surveys

Ross Hunter is retiring shortly which leaves Peter Curry and James Hale as the local surveyors for Boat Safety Certification Scheme.

ACTION – Pierre to provide details of companies who can carry out structural surveys.

16. Relocation of SC Offices

SC are proposing to develop their site at Lock 16 in Falkirk, including plans for a new headquarters building. The site at Applecross St. will be redeveloped with much improved facilities for boaters. Members from the Glasgow Branch have been invited to join the steering group planning the changes.

17. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on Zoom at 6:30pm on Monday 21st June 2021.


LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 12th APRIL-2021

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Chrisy Southgate, Neil Kitchener, Don Williams, Pierre Potel, Colin Robertson, Len Stevens, Sean McNamara and Robin Fryer

Apologies

Ania Neisser

1 Finance

The finances are still very solvent. There has been one new member and 15 renewals since January. Renewal reminders have been sent to 7 members.

2. Storage for Residential Boaters

Although Scottish Canals have now agreed to provide additional storage lockers, the specification is suspect since they do not appear to be fixed to the ground and can easily be lifted to expose the contents.

ACTION – Len to send letter to committee for comment prior to sending to SC.

3. Navigation and Safety Committee

The next meeting is due on 10th May.

Tommy Thomson is still reviewing the list of boaters wanting training for self-operation of locks and bridges. The plan will be put into operation once the staff return from furlough. Pump out training for the remaining sites will be as per the agreed schedule.

ACTION – Chrisy to liaise with Tommy to expedite training.

It was suggested that it might be useful to carry out a trial emergency evacuation from a boat on the canal once the lockdown is over to assess the effectiveness of the procedures.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC after canals reopen.

A section of the decking at Spiers Wharf is in a dangerous condition and warning signs have been removed. The boaters would like to use it as a seating area and could repair it themselves if SC agree.

ACTION – To be discussed at the next Nav and Safety meeting.

The refloating of the sunken boat at Edinburgh is being progressed.

Sean has offered to take the Navvies Barge to Stockingfield Junction to check the navigability of the channels through the work site once the temporary dams have been reprofiled. Colin raised concerns that Garscube Bridge has proved unreliable and may not work when the canals reopen. It was agreed that the issue would be raised at the next Stockingfield meeting on 27th April.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC about weed control and bridge maintenance issues prior to the reopening of the canals.

4. Dredging and Weed Control

Most of the maps of the network showing the worst areas of weed growth have been returned.

The LCA proposal to pay boaters to increase the turbidity and keep the weeds down was discussed again with Richard Millar on 2nd December who advised that Mark Smith and Tommy Thomson should contact us to arrange a meeting. Robin is writing up his notes following his discussion with SC last year.

ACTION – Christine sent a letter to SC but not yet received a reply.

The new weed cutter, which will have a sonar fitted, is currently being manufactured. When it arrives, the existing Berkies will be taken out of service one at a time for refurbishment.

5. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The next meeting is due on 5th May.

SC announced that the Lowland Canals will reopen for transits and general navigation on May 28th. The works on the breach at Muiravonside and those associated with the Union Canal resilience programme are still ongoing but should be complete by then.

6. Communications

Don attended the first meeting of the communication sub-group, which only lasted 30 minutes and was very inconclusive, although it confirmed that internal communications and publicity would be included as well as the website and notifications to boaters. A further meeting has been arranged for 19 April so that progress can be reported at the next SWfA meeting. It was suggested that representatives from various geographic locations should be encouraged to participate.

ACTION – Don to email members to see whether there is any support for this proposal.

On their website, SC usually identify the location of closures and incidents with reference to a physical feature. They have agreed to the addition of a small map to clarify the location.

7. The Forum

The advert for the film Godzilla has been deleted on the grounds that it is not relevant and could be a scam.

8. Events

The current Covid restrictions are unlikely to be relaxed for some time and the canal festivals at Glasgow and Kirkintilloch have been cancelled.

The canals are to reopen for movements on 28th May and the suggestion of organising a series of flotillas to celebrate the liberation of boats over that weekend was raised. Likely venues would be Linn’s Mill, Falkirk Wheel and the Stables. It was pointed out that any gathering would need to comply with the latest COVID requirements for social distancing etc.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC to forewarn them of the proposal so that staffing can be arranged and they can ensure that the canals are clear for navigation.

Pierre confirmed that he intends to organise the Ronnie Rusack Festival of Light next winter. Christine Mckay has produced a draft advertising lantern leaflet. A leaflet will be produced once the wording has been sorted and costing agreed.

ACTION – Pierre to confirm the date, taking into account the annual maintenance for the Wheel and the hours of darkness.

ACTION – All to review Christine’s proposal for the lantern leaflet.

9. Boat Maintenance Facilities

The Seagull Trust have confirmed that they will not permit the use of a very high pressure washer to prepare surfaces so Pierre is progressing the proposal to crane out boats near Broxburn for hull treatment. 19 boats have confirmed an interest and the cost for craneage and site preparation is of the order of £1,100 per boat.

Pierre is still looking at options for a more permanent solution to the problem of hull maintenance.

10. WaterNav Beta App

Development of the App is still ongoing but a draft version is undergoing user testing at present. The full specification and functionality should hopefully be available in a month or so with the App going live later in the year. Neil is on the working party developing the project and will be looking for help to check and update the existing data as well as add new information.

ACTION – Neil to write a short summary of the system to go on the newsletter.

11. Vice Chairman Post

Now that meetings are held on Zoom, Robin can attend using his phone so his position as vice chairman has been reinstated. Robin will liaise with boaters to arrange “opening meet ups” and social events taking into account social distancing and the possibility of changes to Government legislation at short notice.

12. Bees at Auchinstarry

Christine has contacted boaters at Auchinstarry about setting up hives. Issues identified included the potential costs, security for the hives and the constant attention required for maintenance. SC’s response to our letter has been forwarded to committee members. Karen Bradford is also investigating the possibilities for funding training for beekeeping for the Sorted Project at Ratho.

ACTION – Len to sound out the boaters to gauge the interest.

ACTION – Christine to contact Karen Bradford.

13. Awards

Neil had prepared a series of comments following Richard Davies’ idea that LCA sponsor a series of awards for boaters who travel around the network as a positive way to increase movements along the canal. It was agreed that the proposal was a good idea and should be progressed but it may be difficult to organise it this year.

ACTION – Neil to resend his suggestions for all members of the committee to review so that the idea can be progressed before the next SWfA meeting.

Robin suggested that a series of brass plaques representing popular destinations along the network such as The Kelpies, Falkirk Wheel, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bowling etc may be an opportunity to encourage boat movements and also make some money. Boaters may wish to purchase them as a memento of visiting the various destinations and they might appeal to the public who visit the Wheel and the Kelpies. It may be an idea to liaise with SC see if they would be willing to sell them in their visitor centres.

ACTION – Robin to investigate availability and costings for the plaques as well as potential sale outlets.

14. Advice to Boaters

SC have recently issued a new version of their Welcome Pack for new boaters but an LCA guidance note on the issues and pitfalls of owning a boat would also be useful for novice boaters. It would include pitfalls to look for when buying a boat, surveys, boat safety certification, potential operating and maintenance costs, difficulties with transference of moorings etc.

ACTION – Neil to forward copy of SC’s Welcome Pack to all committee members.

ACTION – Pierre to prepare a draft in the form of Q and A, looking at the issues from a boater’s perspective.

15. Newsletter

The next newsletter is due out this weekend.

ACTION – Robin to draft an article about May 28th Flotillas.

ACTION – Neil to write article about WaterNav App.

16. Whats App

Sean commented that the Glasgow boaters have set up a “Whats App” group for informal communication amongst themselves. It was agreed that it would not be suitable for the committee since some members do not have suitable phones and would be excluded from contributing.

17. Scottish Canals Boat Fleet

Sean queried whether SC have any plans for John Hume and Blue Hue which are currently deteriorating at Spiers Wharf due to lack of use as well as Black Grouse which is moored in Edinburgh.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC to ask about their long term plans for the vessels.

18. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on Zoom at 6:30pm on Monday 17th May 2021 to allow feedback from SWfA and the Nav and Safety meetings.

LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 15th MARCH-2021

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Chrisy Southgate, Neil Kitchener, Don Williams, Pierre Potel, Colin Robertson and Len Stevens

Apologies

Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser and Robin Fryer(available on phone).

1 Finance

The finances are still very solvent and the charges for the website were paid in March.[NK1]  There was one new member from 9 renewals over the past quarter.

2. Storage for Residential Boaters

Although Scottish Canals have now agreed to provide additional storage lockers, the specification is suspect since they do not appear to be fixed to the ground and can easily be lifted to expose the contents.

ACTION – Len to draft a letter for Christine to send to SC to clarify the specification.

3. Navigation and Safety Committee

The last meeting was held on 9th March, the tracker has been updated, sent to SC and is on the website. It was agreed that the format of the tracker was acceptable and no changes are required.

Tommy Thomson is still reviewing the list of boaters wanting training for self-operation of locks and bridges The plan will be put into operation once the staff return from furlough. Pump out training has been completed for most locations but there are specific issues with pump out in Edinburgh. Not sure about Applecross St or Kirkintilloch.

ACTION – Don to send out E-Mail to members to update them on reasons for lack of progress.

ACTION – Chrisy to liaise with Tommy for the pump out issues at Edinburgh, Applecross St and Kirkintilloch.

It was suggested that it might be useful to carry out a trial emergency evacuation from a boat on the canal once the lockdown is over to assess the effectiveness of the procedures.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC.

Len’s letter about composting at Auchinstarry was discussed. It was agreed the current arrangements are satisfactory and that no further action is necessary.

ACTION – Christine towrite to Scott to update him about our position.

4. Dredging and Weed Control

Most of the maps of the network showing the worst areas of weed growth have been returned.

ACTION – Christine to review responses and send round a draft letter to SC about weeding for comment.

The LCA proposal to pay boaters to increase the turbidity and keep the weeds down was discussed again with Richard Millar on 2nd December who advised that Mark Smith and Tommy Thomson should contact us to arrange a meeting. Robin is writing up his notes following his discussion with SC last year.

ACTION – Christine to arrange a meeting re weeding with SC. If the meeting is delayed till May then Robin may be able to attend if the Covid restrictions have been lifted. Otherwise, Pierre will stand in for Robin.

The new weed cutter, which will have a sonar fitted, is currently being manufactured. When it arrives, the existing Berkies will be taken out of service one at a time for refurbishment.

5. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

Richard Miller gave an update on operations progress. Most staff are still on Furlough and only 3 bank staff on each Lowland Canal are working on essential operations. If boaters request pump outs or other service assistance, the service may be slower than usual. No details given about dates for a return to full staffing.

Josie Saunders gave an update on communications, the website and a digital upgrade are being progressed. Josie and Stuart Rennie were tasked with looking at setting up a sub group to discuss the way forward. Don has volunteered to be our representative.

At the meeting on 10th March there was a presentation about a Strathclyde University research project into the effect of canal geometry on fuel usage. The hope is that it will provide evidence to show that wider and deeper channels will reduce fuel usage and enable SC to apply for addition funding for dredging and weedcutting on account of improved sustainability. The presentation should be put on the website when it is available.

SC announced that the Lowland Canals will reopen for transits on May 28th. The works on the breach at Muiravonside should be complete by the end of March 2021 along with the works included in the Union Canal resilience programme.

Christine has forwarded articles for the SWfA newsletter and to Josie.

6. Communications

On their website, SC usually identify the location of closures and incidents with reference to a physical feature. It was agreed that this can be confusing and the addition of a small map indicating the location would be beneficial.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC suggesting that a map is included in notifications.

7. The Forum

Members are now notified when new items are added to the forum.

ACTION – Chrisy to include a note in the newsletter to encourage boaters to use the facility.

8. Events

The current Covid restrictions are unlikely to be relaxed for some time so it is unclear whether any events will be organised this year.

ACTION – Robin to investigate whether the Glasgow Canal Festival will be held this year.

A flotilla to Spiers Wharf with music, possibly including some boats making a visit to Port Dundas at the summer solstice is still being championed by the Glasgow boaters.

It was suggested that a leaflet in the form of a lantern should be prepared to advertise the Ronnie Rusack Festival of Light.

9. Maintenance Facilities

The Seagull Trust have responded to Pierre’s letter and have rescinded his ban provided he continues to comply with their rules. However, they have refused permission for his proposal to use a very high pressure washer to prepare surfaces prior to painting on Health and Safety grounds. This effectively means that he still cannot use the facility to black hulls.

ACTION – Pierre to draft a letter to ST to ask them to reconsider their latest ban.

Pierre is still progressing the crane lift option but the costing is currently predicted to be of the order of £1,300 per boat plus the cost of labour and materials for carrying out the work. This is considerably more expensive than the dry dock or use of a slipway.

Although SC has said that they are looking at the funding to make the old IRN Bru factory a maintenance hub (by Loch 16 on the F&C), it will be at sometime in the future, maybe in 2 years.

ACTION – Pierre to follow up with SC.

10. WaterNav Beta App

Development of the App is still ongoing but there are more delays in getting approval from Apple. The full specification and functionality should hopefully be available in a month or so with the App going live later in the year. Neil is on the working party developing the project and will be looking for help to check and update the existing data as well as add new information.

11. Vice Chairman Post

The lockdown has highlighted that Robin has difficulty in attending online meetings due to issues with his internet connection.

It was suggested that he should temporarily stand down until the lockdown has been removed.

ACTION – Christine to discuss with Robin.

12. Bees at Auchinstarry

In the past there were bee hives in the compound at Auchinstarry but they were withdrawn. There is a desire to reintroduce them. Karen Bradford is also investigating the possibilities for funding of training for beekeeping for the Sorted Project at Ratho.

ACTION – Christine to investigate the subject and write to SC to explore to options.

13. What3Words

The What3Words App is widely used by the emergency authorities to provide accurate location details across the country. It is a useful tool for boaters in the event of an emergency but it is not clear whether SC use it.

ACTION – Don to send details to our members.

13. Awards

Richard Davies’ suggestion that LCA sponsor a series of awards for boaters who travel around the network as a positive way to increase movements along the canal was discussed. It was agreed that the proposal was a good idea as a simple way to encourage boat movement along the canals and should be progressed.

ACTION – All members of the committee should review the suggestions for discussion and agreement at the next meeting.

14. Advice to Boaters

Preparation of a guidance note to provide assistance for novice boaters about owning and operating a boat on the canals was discussed. It would include pitfalls to look for when buying a boat, surveys, boat safety certification, potential operating and maintenance costs, difficulties with transference of moorings etc.

Christine sought clarification from SC on the issues with letting out a boat, through Airbnb for example. In simple terms, SC would then reclassify the boat as a commercial enterprise and levy charges accordingly. A copy of SC’s response is posted on the Forum.

15. Community Moorings Scotland

The committee were reminded that the AGM for CMS was held on 1st March.

16. New Developments

The new developments at Bowling and the new centre at Clydebank were discussed.

17. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on Zoom at 6:30pm on Monday 12th April 2021.


LOWLAND CANALS ASSOCIATION

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON SKYPE ON 8-02-2021

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Chrisy Southgate, Neil Kitchener, Don Williams, Pierre Potel, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser and Colin Robertson.

Apologies

Bev Schofield, Robin Fryer (available on phone) and Len Stevens.

1. Finance

The finances are still very solvent but there will be charges for the website in March.[NK1]  There was no change in the membership over the past month but two members renewed their membership.

2. Storage for Residential Boaters

The Ombudsman sent Christine a copy of a letter dated July 2020 rejecting our complaint on the grounds that under Section 5 of the Act, the SPSO can only investigate where a member of the public has suffered an injustice because of maladministration or service failure. Since LCA raised the concerns on behalf of others they will not investigate since it is not an individual claim.

Christine’s individual complaint was rejected on the basis that Scottish Canals investigated her complaint and acted reasonably in spite of failing to provide storage.

ACTION – Christine and Chrisy to decide where to post the letter on the website.

3. Navigation and Safety Committee

The meeting on 18th January, went well and the tracker has been updated, posted on the website and sent to SC. The next meeting is scheduled for 8th March.

Tommy Thomson is still reviewing the list of boaters wanting training for self-operation of locks and bridges which has been delayed by Covid. Pump out training has been completed for most locations but there are specific issues with pump out in Edinburgh.

ACTION – Chrisy to liaise with Tommy for the lock and bridge training as well as revisiting the pump out issues at Edinburgh, Applecross St and Kirkintilloch.

Composting and recycling at Auchinstarry were discussed and SC are reviewing what can be done.

4. Dredging and Weed Control

Christine sent out a letter to a number of boaters with maps of the network so they could identify the worst areas of weed growth. Because of the restrictions to navigation, the initial responses have been disappointing, most boaters have not moved from their moorings for some time.

The LCA proposal to pay boaters to increase the turbidity and keep the weeds down was discussed again with Richard Millar on 2nd December who advised that Mark Smith and Tommy Thomson should contact us to arrange a meeting. Robin has difficulties with Zoom meetings so Christine and Pierre will take up the issue. Robin is writing up his notes following his discussion with SC last year.

Pierre advised that contrary to expectations, some types of weed seem to be growing faster under the ice. SC are proposing to start work on weed cutting going both ways from the Almond Aquaduct

ACTION – Christine and Pierre to arrange a meeting re weeding with SC.

5. Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The question of the “temporary” maintenance scheme was discussed.

The failure of the emergency phone number was discussed and it was agreed that it was a serious issue. It was stated that the number is checked weekly and that a few actions were taken away from the safety and navigation committee to be discussed by the Scottish Canals new IT review team.

Richard Miller gave an update on operations progress. Staff are still on Furlough, working a 3 day week. So if boaters request pump outs or other service assistance, it may be slower than usual to provide the service.

SWfA members were encouraged to actually read the Navigation and Safety minutes on the LCA website as there is some invaluable information in the tracker, including the work being carried out on the Union Canal under the resilience programme.

Training was discussed by Jonathon Mosse but is Covid reliant. Operational training on pump outs and locking and bridges is the same. Moving forward slowly, but Covid reliant.

Josie Saunders gave an update on communications and herself and Stuart Rennie were tasked with looking at a sub group set up to discuss the way forward.

The next meeting is scheduled for 10th March.

6. Communications

Josie has responded to our letter about poor communications but the text does not answer some of the issues and is replete with jargon.

ACTION – Christine to draft a reply and send it around for comment then send to Josie and SC.

7. The Forum

Members are now notified when new items are added to the forum.

The Advert function is still available to members who should be encouraged to use the function to buy and sell items which need not necessarily relate to boating. Currently, we pay an annual fee of £45 for the advertising facility. A lifetime fee of £140 has been offered and after a discussion, it was agreed that we should pay for the lifetime service. The advert page is open to both members and non-members to increase it’s use.                                

ACTION – Chrisy to include a note in the newsletter to encourage boaters to use the facility.

8. Contact with Other Organisations

It had been agreed that the Boaters Group would be closed down at the end of March since our website now has all the functionality required. Yahoo had shut down the group facility which was used by the Boaters Group at the end of 2020 so it was effectively shut down at that time.

ACTION – Pierre to write a notice and send it to each member of the Boaters Group to formally advise them of the closure.

Christine advised Gordon Daly that the committee had decided not to affiliate with the RYAS.

9. Boat Movement Survey

Neil categorised the data on Chrisy’s spreadsheet into Charity Organisations, Commercial, boaters on the Union Canal and boaters on the F&C Canal. A letter summarising the findings from the review was discussed at the SWfA meeting and was well received by Scottish Canals. Since only limited navigation was possible last year due the effect of closures and Covid restrictions, the survey was based on what trips people would have wanted to make. It is hoped that another survey will be carried out at the end of the year to ascertain what trips people did actually make in 2021 although it looks as if the Covid restriction will still have a significant impact on the results.

10. Events

The current Covid restrictions are unlikely to be relaxed for some time so it is unclear whether any events will be allowed this year.

A flotilla to Spiers Wharf with music, possibly including some boats making a visit to Port Dundas at the summer solstice is still being championed by the Glasgow boaters.

11. Maintenance Facilities

Pierre’s proposal to arrange multiple crane lifts on the same day for boats on the Union Canal was sent around the boaters and 22 people have expressed an interest. Three locations ae being considered, Stewartfield Park near Broxburn, Park Bistro near Community Moorings and next to Almond Aqueduct but many issues such as security, power and water need to be resolved. Pierre hopes to keep the price of the operation below £700 per boat.

ACTION – Pierre is to send a letter to the committee describing the circumstances which led to him being banned from the Seagull Trust dry dock at Ratho and the imposition of the restrictions to surface preparation by grinding. Maybe an option to provide a proper ventilation system in the dry dock might be of use.

Although SC has said that they are looking at the funding to make the old IRN Bru factory a maintenance hub (by Loch 16 on the F&C), it will be at sometime in the future, maybe in 2 years

ACTION – Pierre to follow up with SC.

Pierre is also investigating a proposal to use very high pressure washing as a way to remove all corrosion prior to painting which might be acceptable to Seagull Trust.

12. Breach of Union Canal

 It is hoped that the breach will be repaired and the canal reopened for navigation by the start of the season. SC are undertaking a large resilience programme on the Union Canal involving the upgrading of 6 weirs, repairing 16 culverts, construction of stop plank areas to facilitate blocking the canal in the event of another breach, currently being surveyed and associated dredging works. Design work for monitoring sensors is currently ongoing.

13. Ronnie Rusack

The proposal to rename the bridge at Ratho as the Ronnie Rusack Bridge has been submitted to the local council. It is also proposed to change the name of the workboat “Lochrin” to Ronnie Rusack MBE.

17. WaterNav Beta App

Development of the App is ongoing but there is a delay in getting approval from Apple. The full specification and functionality should be available in a month or so with the App going live later in the year. Neil is on the working party developing the project and will be looking for help to check and update the existing data as well as add new information.

18. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be online at 6:30pm on Monday 15th March 2021


NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON SKYPE ON 11-01-2021

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Chrisy Southgate, Neil Kitchener, Don Williams, Pierre Potel and Len Stevens

Apologies

Bev Schofield, Robin Fryer(available on phone).

1 Finance

The finances are still very solvent but there will be charges for the website in March.[NK1]  There was no change in the membership over the past month

2 Storage for Residential Boaters

No progress so far so Christine wrote to the Ombudsman in December asking for an update.

3 Navigation and Safety Committee

The next meeting is scheduled for 18th January, the tracker has been updated and sent to SC.

Tommy Thomson is still reviewing the list of boaters wanting training for self-operation of locks and bridges. Pump out training has been completed for most locations but there are specific issues with pump out in Edinburgh. Not sure about Applecross St or Kirkintilloch

ACTION – Chrisy to liaise with Tommy for the lock and bridge training as well as revisiting the pump out issues at Edinburgh, Applecross St and Kirkintilloch.

4. Dredging and Weed Control

The LCA proposal to pay boaters to increase the turbidity and keep the weeds down was discussed with Richard Millar on 2nd December. He advised that Mark Smith and Tommy Thomson will contact us to arrange a meeting.

Pierre advised that contrary to expectations, some types of weed seem to be growing faster under the ice.

5 Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The next meeting is scheduled for 27th January. The question of a “temporary” maintenance scheme will be on the agenda.

6. Communications

The draft letter to SC regarding communications has been approved and will be sent to Josie, Catherine and Richard tomorrow.

It was agreed that Chrisy will be responsible for updating the web site. Don will look after the emails which are sent via webmail and circulate to others for action or information if necessary. Pierre will deputise if Don is absent. Internal correspondence between committee members will be sent to and from personal email addresses rather than using info@lca.

7. The Forum

Members are now notified when new items are added to the forum.

Members have been advised how to set up their notifications from the forum allowing members to choose the amount of information received from this platform.

8. Contact with Other Organisations

It was agreed that the Boaters Group should be closed down at the end of March since our website now has all the functionality required.

ACTION – Pierre to prepare a draft closure notice for review by the committee.

The cost and benefits of affiliation to the RYAS were discussed. The majority decision of the committee was against affiliation at this time. LCA receive excellent feedback and information from Gordon Daly and are grateful for his support.

9. Boat Movement Survey

We have received 109 responses, to the survey from all categories of users, 53 canal users and 56 transit users, including the charity boat operatives. Chrisy has produced a spreadsheet summarising the responses.

ACTION – Neil, Don and Chrisy to review the data and decide how to present the findings to SC in a meaningful way.

10. Events

The current restrictions are unlikely to be relaxed for some time so it was agreed that the proposal to hold The Flotilla of Lights in the spring has been dropped. It is unclear whether any events will be allowed this year since it does depend on the relaxation of the Covid rules on association.

A flotilla to Spiers Wharf with music, possibly including some boats making a visit to Port Dundas at the summer solstice is still a possibility. Boats could be decorated, either to a central theme or to the owners’ preference.

If the Glasgow Canal Festival is held this year, LCA should consider having a stall on land or using a boat to advertise ourselves.

Public liability insurance will be required for any event involving the public and will depend on what is being proposed. Any food element raises the costs and H&S requirements. Any physical activities also increase risk and cost.

Robin would be grateful for any contacts with people with experience in this area for advice on suitable cover. It may be something to be done on an event-by-event basis rather than an annual policy unless we foresee doing multiple annual events requiring that cover.

ACTION – Robin will draw up a set of options for a summer flotilla/canal festival. He had networked last year as the Events Manager and is in the best position to pursue this.

11. Maintenance Facilities

Seagull Trust dry docks at Ratho and Kirkintilloch do not allow grinding and dust generating operations at present so are of limited use. Although a reduction in charges has been arranged, the fundamental problem of no mechanical hull preparation still exists. Maybe an option to provide a proper ventilation system might be of use.

ACTION – Don or Chrisy to contact the manager at Ratho to address the issues. No progress to date due to Covid since the Ratho office and all other ST offices are closed.

Although SC has said that they are looking at the funding to make the old IRN Bru factory a maintenance hub (by Loch 16 on the F&C), it will be at sometime in the future, maybe in 2 years

ACTION – Pierre to follow up with SC.

The response to our survey of potential users of the facility was significant and on this basis the LCA will write a letter of support for the proposal.

ACTION – Christine to draft a letter for approval by the committee.

12. Eviction

Boater’s rights are an ongoing issue. There is a difference in relevant legislation between England and Scotland. Boaters in Scotland can only have their boats removed from the canal if they have been abandoned. This is a complex subject and LCA will seek further information concerning boater’s rights in Scotland. There was a discussion about the English boater who won an Article 8 case against CRT in the Appeal Court in March 2017 in a landmark judgement for boat dwellers.

A useful website is www.bargee-traveller.org.uk. The Chairman, Nick Brown attended an all party group of MPs at Westminster last year to discuss the matter of boaters’ rights.

ACTION – Christine to contact Colin for an update.

In order to evict a boater, SC must apply for a Section 8. This is a slow and expensive process so although they may issue a threat of eviction it may be difficult to carry it out. SC are currently using the process to remove the sunken boat at Edinburgh.

13. Breach of Union Canal

Still no word when the breach will be repaired and the canal reopened for navigation.

ACTION – Chrisy to enquire at the Nav and Safety meeting.

14. Post Boxes

SC has installed new post boxes at Bowling for the residential boaters and they have been gratefully received. There are issues with regard to the recognition of individual addresses which need to be registered with the council and the Post Office. A registered address is essential for banks, driving licenses, passports, voting etc, Any solution should cover the proposed residential moorings at Winchborough. It was noted that car insurance premiums may be increased for people who refer to their boat as their address.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC to seek clarity.

15. Ronnie Rusack

Christine contacted Ronnie’s family and they have agreed that the Flotilla of Lights can be renamed “The Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Lights” as a memorial to him.

There is also a proposal to rename the bridge at Ratho as the Ronnie Rusack Bridge. It was agreed that LCA should support the idea. If a ceremony is organised, then representatives from LCA will attend.

ACTION – Christine to write to Gordon Daly to support the proposal.

16. Composting

Chrisy suggested that it would enhance SC’s environmental credibility if they encouraged boaters at Auchinstarry to compost their food waste by providing a suitable receptacle. Grass cuttings and waste from the Boathouse could also be treated and the resulting compost spread on the Sensory Garden or the boaters’ vegetable patch. Any receptacle would need to be rat proof if meat were to be included. This may help SC to gain access to Green Funding.

ACTION – Chrisy to propose the idea to SC at the next Nav and Safety meeting.

17. Safe Access along Pontoons

Pontoons and jetties need to be kept clean and tidy in order to provide safe access for boaters, SC staff and emergency services.

ACTION – Chrisy to include a brief note in the next newsletter about the need to maintain safe access along all pontoons and jetties.

18. Recycling at Auchinstarry

Recycling at Auchinstarry is very haphazard because the bins provided by Biffa are not clearly marked to differentiate between the two bins and what can be recycled and what cannot.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC to ask them to discuss with Biffa about improving the marking of the bins.

19. Electric Charging Points

Boaters are inhibited from buying electric vehicles because of a lack of charging points near their moorings. SC have installed points at some of the sites for charging their own vehicles. There may also be a need in the future to provided facilities for charging electrically powered boats.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC to investigate their policy and ask whether boaters can use their charging points.  

20. WaterNav Beta App

River Canal Rescue are proposing to update the old eCanalMap App produced by Mike Kelly in conjunction with Scottish Canals and reissue it as the WaterNav Beta App. It will be available free to any user and can be used on phone, tablet or laptop. It can be used either online or offline and will contain useful information about facilities along the canal as well points of interest. It will be a useful tool for boaters alongside our Directory of Services produced by Don. If used online then your position on the canal will be updated by the satnav on your phone or tablet. Neil is on the working party developing the project and will be looking for help to check and update the existing data as well as add new information. The full specification and functionality should be available in a month or so with the App going live later in the year.

21. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be online at 6:30pm on Monday 8th February 2021.


Notes of Meeting of LCA – December 7th, 2020

Present on Skype

Pierre Potel, Don Williams, Chrisy Southgate, Neil Kitchener, Sean McNamarra, Ania Neisser, Christine Cameron

Robin was consulted by telephone about issues

The meeting was originally called purely to look at communications issues between the LCA and Scottish canals. It was suggested that communication had been deteriorating for some time. and ways should be explored to improve the situation.

However other significant items were added to the agenda namely

1 The passing of Ronnie Rusack

Although the LCA had sent messages of condolences to the family and Lisa, Ronnie’s partner, we also wanted to honour his memory. It was proposed that the Flotilla of Light which we organise should be renamed “Ronnie Rusack Flotilla of Light”.

ACTION

The chair to send a letter to the family asking for their approval. Letter sent awaiting response.

2 Communication issues with Scottish Canals

There were several examples of poor communication issues. The committee agreed that the chair should draft a letter to Scottish Canals with the detailed concerns. As per procedures a draft letter would be sent to the committee members for approval soon prior to sending to Scottish Canals.

ACTION

Chair to prepare a draft letter for committee approval.

3 Boat maintenance issues.

Due to COVID-19 there has been disruption to the regular maintenance of boats. Boaters are required by legislation to keep their boats in good condition. There was a long discussion about the availability or lack of adequate facilities for taking boats out of the water, particularly on the Union Canal. The committee agreed to undertake a telephone survey of members to solicit how boaters are coping in relation to the impact of the virus as a follow up call to the one carried out in the spring. It was agreed that this would also provide an opportunity to ask boaters about maintenance work like hull blackening work

ACTION

A telephone survey to be organised to look at figures, Chair to organise.

Pierre to pull together in greater detail the issues and where we are in relation to facilities. This will be circulated to members after the telephone survey results.

3 Internal Communications

It was agreed that members should be advised when information is added to the forum so they are aware of the items. We should also look at the newsletter as a way of distributing information to members.

4 Plan for next year

To leaflet the Lowland Canal in the spring before the proposed Flotilla of Light. Robin to present proposals for events.

Date of next meeting on Skype – 11th January 2021 at 6.30 pm

This should take place after the two monthly scheduled Safety and Navigation meeting on 4th January

Winterfest greetings

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON ZOOM ON 09-11-2020

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Chrisy Southgate, Neil Kitchener, Don Williams, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Robin Fryer, Pierre Potel and Colin Robertson.

Apologies

Bev Schofield.

This was a short meeting to follow up on items raised during the AGM

1. Affiliation to RYA Scotland

Following a short discussion, it was agreed that LCA would decide on affiliation with the RYAS, once we have received information on costs and benefits. Meanwhile, we are grateful to Gordon Daly for sharing with us information about boating issues which we pass on to our members.

2. Twechar Canal Centre

LCA received information about a planning application for a Canal Centre at Twechar from Richard Davies. The proposal is a resubmission of an old application for a watersports centre on the ground to the East of the bridge. The original application made reference to the provision of a boat maintenance facility which has not been included this time. In view of the shortage of maintenance facilities on the network, it was agreed that we should encourage the proposer to include them in the scheme although LCA would be reluctant to take on responsibility for running them in view of the costs involved in setting up the yard and the provision of craneage to lift boats onto the bank. There were concerns raised about the cost of craneage and insurance.

ACTION – Christine to contact Sandra to investigate options.

3. Communications

Poor Communication from Scottish Canals has been a constant problem with conflicting information being distributed by different sources from within the organisation and on the website, particularly with regard to closures. It was agreed that the next committee meeting would concentrate on reviewing the issue of poor communication so that we can produce a schedule of items to illustrate the problem and try to help SC to Improve the accuracy of their information.

ACTION – All to provide examples of poor or misleading communications from SC.

4. Decorated Boats

Since the Flotilla of Lights was cancelled this year, it was agreed that the idea of a competition for festive decorations of boats should be launched.

ACTION – Robin to prepare a draft note for circulation to members.

5. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Skype or Zoom 6:30pm on Monday 7th December 2020.

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON SKYPE ON 12-10-2020

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Chrisy Southgate, Neil Kitchener, Don Williams, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Robin Fryer and Colin Robertson.

Apologies

Pierre Potel and Bev Schofield.

1 Finance

The finances are still very solvent. There was no change in the membership over the past month

2 Storage for Residential Boaters

The Ombudsman advised that the investigation was due to start on 6th March 2020 but there has still been no contact from them. We have a reference number. Christine tried to contact the Ombudsman for an update but the staff still appeared to be furloughed.

3 Navigation and Safety Committee

A Skype meeting was held on Monday 7th September and Chrisy has updated the tracker and put it on the website. Meetings take place every two months and are very productive, see notes on the website.

There are still concerns about the effect of closures on the canal network. Garscube Bridge was officially opened today but it had been opened over the weekend of 25th September to allow boaters from Spiers Wharf to navigate to Kirkintilloch. A video of their flotilla passing the bridge was used by SC to advertise the opening ceremony.

However, Scottish Canals has just announced that there will be a 4½ month closure for preparatory works for the construction of Stockingfield Bridge, starting on 1st November. This will affect navigation on all 3 arms of the canal as well as the tow paths. It is likely that there will be a further closure when the deck structure is being erected later next year. Boaters on the Glasgow Branch are upset about the new closure since they have been locked down for the past 12 months due to the delays in constructing Garscube Bridge. They are seriously concerned about the closure as well the poor communications and have complained to SC.

ACTION – Chrisy to investigate and maintain pressure on SC to clarify when closures affecting navigation are planned and seek to minimise their impact on boaters. Christine to write a formal letter of complaint to SC.

Tommy Thomson is still reviewing the list of boaters wanting training for self-operation of locks, bridges and pump outs.

ACTION – Chrisy to liaise with Tommy and boaters who have expressed an interest will be given a time slot for their training.

Chrisy confirmed that the pontoon at the Stables and the shopping trolleys at Hungryside Bridge are receiving attention. The suspected bank slippage near the Stables has been referred to the asset team.

4. Dredging and Weed Control

The Lowland Canals reopened on 17th July and the weed has been cut all the way to Bowling. The first boat passage was last week.

SC will review our proposal to pay boaters to increase the turbidity and may introduce a scheme for next year. Robin has liaised with Richard Millar who will pass the matter to Mark Smith.

ACTION – Robin to follow up with SC.

5 Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The next meeting in the new format  is scheduled for 28th October.  

6. Promotion of LCA

The leaflet is a start but it was suggested that articles should be sent to local papers to publicize LCA activities. Christine submitted an article to the Kirky Herald, Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News but there has been no response so far. It was suggested that they are sent to the letters page instead

7. The Forum

The Forum is a way for members to raise and discuss issues affecting them. To date, one new article has been added to the forum every month and the intention is to continue with this. This month’s articles will be about the engine on The Duckling.

The Advert function is still available to members who should be encouraged to use the function to buy and sell items which need not necessarily relate to boating.

8. Contact with Other Organisations

It was agreed that the Boaters Group should not be closed down just yet because of the issues with Covid.

ACTION – Pierre to prepare a draft closure notice for review by the committee so that it can be sent out when conditions are better.

LCA have become a Corporate affiliate of the Inland Waterways Association for a one year trial period.

ACTION – All to consider which topics IWA could provide assistance or guidance with.

The Glasgow Branch are now affiliated to the LCA and Colin Robertson represents them as associate members.

9. Boat Movement Survey

We have received 99 responses to the survey from all categories of users. The response from the Forth and Clyde Preservation Society was extremely comprehensive and even detailed the numbers of passengers carried. However, the response from the other charity boats has been poor.

ACTION – Chrisy/Don to contact the charity sector again and seek to get a meaningful response from each one.

ACTION – Robin to contact LUCS and G Harvey to encourage a positive response.

10. Events

The Flotilla of Lights has been cancelled this year. Various alternatives were discussed including the possibility of holding a virtual flotilla online with people posting pictures of their decorated boats or reprogramming the Flotilla of Lights to Edinburgh in the spring.

A flotilla to Spiers Wharf with music, possibly including some boats making a visit to Port Dundas at the summer solstice is a possibility. Boats could be decorated, either to a central theme or to the owners preference.

If the Glasgow Canal Festival is held next year, LCA should consider having a stall on land or using a boat to advertise ourselves. Public liability insurance will be required but the IWA have advised that their terms are likely to be more expensive than we could obtain from the market.

ACTION – Robin will draw up a set of options for a summer flotilla/canal festival and review what insurance would be required. He had networked last year as the Events Manager.

4 of the Glasgow boaters organised a flotilla to the Stables at Kirkintilloch on 26th September to celebrate their release from lock down following the completion of Garscube Bridge.

11. Proposal for Housing Development at Bowling

A member has raised concerns about the proposed housing development at Bowling. LCA are seeking advice and the issue is ongoing. IWA have been asked for advice.

12. Maintenance Facilities

In Pierre’s absence, this item was not discussed. However, it was agreed that the old dry dock at Kirkintilloch is unsuitable.

Lack of available facilities for maintaining boats is a serious issue and various options for the provision of maintenance facilities around the network were discussed. SC are supportive of the idea of developing a maintenance facility which could either be a dry dock or canal side with facilities for craning boats onto the bank for repair. To optimise the cost of craneage it would be preferable to lift out several boats at the same time. It may be possible to obtain grants, subsidies or sponsorship for developing a facility but we need to understand the availability, options and costs involved.

Seagull Trust dry docks at Ratho and Kirkintilloch do not allow grinding and dust generating operations at present so are of limited use. Maybe an option to provide a proper ventilation system might be of use.

ACTION – Don or Chrisy to contact the manager at Ratho to address the issues.

The hardstanding at Auchinstarry was designed for crane operation but there is nowhere convenient to lay the boats down to carry out work.

The slip way at the Stables in Kirkintilloch can be used but there is no water or electricity or cover for the boat.

SC have suggested that there may be an opportunity to develop an area near the old Irn Bru factory near Lock 16.

ACTION – Pierre to follow up with SC.

There is an old warehouse near the canal at Shuna Place.

ACTION – Sean to investigate.

13. Eviction

The committee discussed concerns about boater’s rights. There is a difference in relevant legislation between England and Scotland. Boaters in Scotland can only have their boats removed from the canal if they have been abandoned. This is a complex subject and LCA will seek further information concerning boater’s rights in Scotland. There was a discussion about the English boater who won an Article 8 case against CRT in the Appeal Court in March 2017 in a landmark judgement for boat dwellers

ACTION – Colin will forward information about the different legislation to committee members.

14. Breach of Union Canal

Still no word when the breach will be repaired and the canal reopened for navigation.

15 User Group Meetings

It is unclear whether SC will hold the User Group meetings during the lockdown period

ACTION – Chrisy to check with SC.

16. Post Boxes

After a lot of hassle, SC installed new post boxes at Auchinstarry for the residential boaters. There are issues with delivery of mail at Bowling and Applecross Street which would be resolved if boaters had their own boxes.

17. Crossparty Meeting

Don attended the last meeting because Sean was not available. He reported that the majority of the meeting was about events which had been cancelled diue to Covid. Although there was minimal discussion about canals, it was agreed that we should continue to attend.

18. AGM

It was agreed that the best platform for holding the AGM online on 9th November at 18:30hrs would be Zoom. Members have to be given 14 days notice of the date and time, ie before 26th October.

ACTION – Colin to investigate the options for using Zoom and provide details of the link for forwarding to members.

ACTION – Christine to produce an annual report for discussion at the next meeting

19. David Morrison

It was agreed that Christine would write a letter of condolence to the family of David Morrison, one of the stalwarts of the canals, who passed away recently.

20. Next Meeting

The next meetings will be the online AGM at 6:30pm on Monday 9th November 2020.


NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON SKYPE ON 14-09-2020

Attendees

Pierre Potel, Christine Cameron, Chrisy Southgate, Neil Kitchener, Don Williams, Sean McNamara and Ania Neisser

Apologies

Robin Fryer and Bev Schofield

1 Finance

The finances are still very solvent.[NK1]  The LCA are very grateful for a large donation from one of the boaters We now have 50 members with one prospective member but 5 have not renewed their subscription. 2 have left the canal and moved South. The only expenditure was for the leaflets.

ACTION – Christine to notify Don of any bank transfer renewals so that Chrisy can reactivate their membership.

2 Storage for Residential Boaters

The Ombudsman advised that the investigation was due to start on 6th March 2020 but there has still been no contact from them. We have a reference number but they have been furloughed.

ACTION – Christine will contact the Ombudsman for an update.

3 Navigation and Safety Committee

A Skype meeting was held on Monday 7th September and Chrisy has updated the tracker and put it on the website. Meetings take place every two months and are very productive, see notes on the website.

Several actions have been completed and were closed.

The fume extraction system at Auchinstarry has been refurbished but the baffle has not been fitted. The residents will monitor progress and contact the environmental department if necessary. LCA gave advice regarding complaint about excessive noise levels and provided contact details

SC intend to tidy up the compound at Auchinstarry. Some of the boats and the Mercedes car pay rent to SC. It is also believed that the canoe club also pay rent. LCA notified the boaters

There are still concerns about the effect of closures on the canal network. It is anticipated that Garscube Bridge will be operational before 24th September which will open up the Glasgow branch. No details of closures for construction of Stockingfield Bridge are available yet

ACTION – Chrisy to maintain pressure on SC to clarify when closures affecting navigation are planned and seek to minimise their impact on boaters.

Tommy Thomson is reviewing the list of boaters wanting training for self-operation of locks, bridges and pump outs.

ACTION – Chrisy to liaise with Tommy and boaters who have expressed an interest will be given a time slot for their training.

4. Dredging and Weed Control

The Lowland Canals reopened on 17th July and access in parts is difficult due to excessive weed growth. Teams have been working since 3rd June, currently heading from Westward from Glasgow down to Bowling and Westward from Edinburgh towards Linlithgow.

SC will review our proposal to pay boaters to increase the turbidity and may introduce a scheme for next year. Robin has liaised with Richard Millar who will pass the matter to Mark Smith.

ACTION – Robin to follow up with SC.

The broken down Birky at Bowling is being repaired. The new Birky which is scheduled for delivery next spring will also be able to undertake sonar surveys to allow the depth of the canals to be ascertained.

5 Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The AGM was held on the 26th August and the 12man management committee was re-elected. The working of the group will be changed and 9 sub-groups will be formed to cover Volunteering, Social Media, Review and Refresh SWfA operations and liaison with Crinan/Caledonian Canals, RYA Scotland, IWA and SC. LCA will still retain the responsibility for Nav and Safety. Other members of SWfA will be co-opted onto these working groups.

6. Leaflet Update

The new leaflet has been printed, 500 copies for £64. A membership campaign will be opened in the spring. Thanks to all who contributed to the new leaflet.

7. Promotion of LCA

The leaflet is a start but it was suggested that articles should be sent to local papers to publicize LCA activities.

ACTION – Christine to write an article and submit it to the Kirky Herald Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News.

8. The Forum

The Forum is a way for members to raise and discuss issues affecting them. This month’s articles will be about last year’s Flotilla of Light. Malo Potel has submitted a short article from a child’s point of view as well as one about The Duckling.

The Advert function saw the sale of a barge this month. Members should be encouraged to use the function to buy and sell items which need not necessarily relate to boating. To date, one new article has been added to the forum every month and the intention is to continue with this.

9. LCA Web Site

SC have added a facility for requesting and paying for moorings and licenses onto their website. There is no conflict with LCA adverts page.

Reunion Canal Boats have applied to join the LCA Facebook group. It was agreed that only members should be allowed to use our account.

ACTION – Don to write to Reunion suggesting that they should become corporate members if they wish to use our Facebook.

10. Contact with Other Organisations

It was agreed that the Boaters Group should not be closed down just yet because of the issues with Covid.

ACTION – Pierre to prepare a draft closure notice for review by the committee so that it can be sent out when conditions are better.

It was agreed that LCA should become a Corporate affiliate of the Inland Waterways Association for a one year trial period.

ACTION – Christine to contact Richard Davies to progress membership.

The Glasgow Branch deal with local issues and events in their immediate environment and should consider affiliating to the LCA.

ACTION – Christine to arrange a visit to Spiers Wharf to gather information. Once the furlough is over, Pierre and Robin should visit the Glasgow branch to discuss the role of LCA and encourage them to become affiliate members.

Sean reported that Glasgow Narrowboat Group would like to affiliate with the LCA.

ACTION – Christine to contact Colin Robertson to implement this.

11. Boat Movement Survey

The wording of the boaters’ survey has been agreed. It will be sent round to all our members as well as the Boaters Group. It is important to get as many responses as possible to provide a realistic estimate of the potential usage of the canals. The survey will be sent out next week and RYA Scotland will circulate it to their members. We intend to conduct a survey every year to monitor canal usage. It is now 3 years since boats were able transit the lowland canals for various reasons.

ACTION – Chrisy to contact SC to see whether they are prepared to distribute the survey to all boaters on the lowland canals.

12. Flotilla of Lights

In November, it is not clear what the rules for association will be which may affect both the participating boaters and the spectators. The Falkirk Wheel is being maintained and it is unlikely that the breach will be repaired preventing boats from the F&C from participating in the event and the Union Canal has serious problems with weed and silt. Reluctantly, it was agreed that the 2020 event should be cancelled.

Various alternatives were discussed including reprogramming the Flotilla of Lights to Edinburgh in the spring and a flotilla to Spiers Wharf which could possibly include some boats making a visit to Port Dundas, either at the summer solstice with music or to coincide with the Glasgow canal festival.

ACTION – Robin to investigate the options for summer flotillas and review whether we would require any insurance.

Sean advised that the 5 of the Glasgow boaters are proposing a flotilla for a meal at the Stables at Kirkintilloch on 26th September provided Garscube bridge is open.

13. Proposal for Housing Development at Bowling

A member has raised concerns about the proposed housing development at Bowling. LCA are seeking advice and the issue is ongoing.

14. Maintenance Facilities

Lack of available facilities for maintaining boats is a serious issue and various options for the provision of maintenance facilities around the network were discussed. SC are supportive of the idea of developing a maintenance facility which could either be a dry dock or canal side with facilities for craning boats onto the bank for repair. To optimise the cost of craneage it would be preferable to lift out several boats at the same time. It may be possible to obtain grants, subsidies or sponsorship for developing a facility but we need to understand the availability, options and costs involved.

The old dry dock at Kirkintilloch appears to be intact but may be of limited use.

ACTION – Neil to visit and produce a report on it’s dimensions and condition.

Seagull Trust dry docks at Ratho and Kirkintilloch do not allow grinding and dust generating operations at present so are of limited use. Maybe an option to provide a proper ventilation system might be of use.

ACTION – Don or Chrisy to contact the manager at Ratho to address the issues.

The hardstanding at Auchinstarry was designed for crane operation but there is nowhere convenient to lay the boats down to carry out work.

The slip way at the Stables in Kirkintilloch can be used but there is no water or electricity or cover for the boat.

SC have suggested that there may be an opportunity to develop an area near the old Irn Bru factory near Lock 16.

ACTION – Pierre to follow up with SC.

There is an old warehouse near the canal at Shuna Place.

ACTION – Sean to investigate.

15. Eviction

The committee discussed concerns about boater’s rights.  A boater in England used Human Rights legislation to defend himself against a threat of eviction. This is a complex subject and LCA will seek further information concerning boater’s rights in Scotland.

16. Breach of Union Canal

Neil gave details of the breach in the Union Canal near Muiravonside. The photos taken during a visit to the site clearly show the presence of excessive weed growth and siltation on the sides of the canal despite the scouring effect of the water during the draining of the canal.

ACTION – Neil to forward photos to committee members.

Boaters who are affected may wish to apply for a reduction in their navigation licenses.

17 User Group Meetings

It is unclear whether SC will hold the User Group meetings during the lockdown period

ACTION – Chrisy to check with SC

18. AGM

Arrangements for holding the AGM on 9th November at 18:30hrs need to be resolved. It will almost certainly have to be held online.

ACTION – Christine to produce an annual report for discussion at the next meeting

19. Next Meeting

The next meetings will be at 6:30pm on Monday 12th October 2020 either at the Union Hotel in Falkirk, Christine’s in Lennoxtown or on Skype depending on the rules for association at the time. Chocolates and food may be served depending on the venue.

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD AT LENNOXTOWN ON 03-08-2020

Attendees

Pierre Potel, Christine Cameron, Chrisy Southgate, Robin Fryer, Neil Kitchener and Don Williams(on Skype).

Apologies

Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser and Bev Schofield

1 Finance

The finances are still in good order . Since the New Year, 6 new members have joined but 2 have left the canal and moved South.

There are still issues with both the Paypal and Clydesdale Bank Accounts. An appointment made with the bank was cancelled due to the virus controls.

ACTION – Bev and Christine to rearrange an appointment with the bank to resolve the problems.

2 Storage for Residential Boaters

The Ombudsman advised that the investigation was due to start on 6th March 2020 but there has still been no contact at all.

ACTION – Christine to make contact once the furlough is over.

3 Navigation and Safety Committee

A Skype meeting was held on Monday 6th July and Chrisy has updated the tracker and put it on the website. The next meeting is scheduled for 7th September.

A number of items were closed and some previous comments removed to reduce the size of the tracker. (previous comments can still be found on the previous minutes)

The fume extraction system at Auchinstarry will be refurbished before the new lessee opens the Boathouse.

There are serious concerns about the effect of closures on the Glasgow branch. Construction of Garscube Bridge has restarted and access will be restricted until 24th September. Work on Stockingfield Bridge is due to commence shortly and SC have now said that the canal will be shut for six weeks at some time. There may be “windows of opportunity” for navigation but it is unclear what this means. These closures are seriously impacting the livelihoods and leisure activities of the Glasgow boaters.

The slipway at Winchburgh is included in the legal agreement with the third party contractors and should be constructed as part of the development.

ACTION – Chrisy to maintain pressure on SC to clarify when closures affecting navigation are planned and seek to minimise their impact on boaters.

4. Dredging and Weed Control

The Lowland Canals reopened on 17th July and access in parts is difficult due to excessive weed growth. Teams have been working since 3rd June, currently heading from Westward from Kirkintilloch towards Glasgow and Westward from Edinburgh towards Linlithgow.

Dredging is ongoing between Locks 36 and 37, however budget for the Lowland Canals is limited. The budget for 2020/21 has been reduced to £20,000 and is inadequate for the work required.

5 Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

There was a Zoom meeting on 29th July attended by approximately 20 people. Richard Millar and Julia Johnson were the only attendees from SC. Don has sent a summary of the meeting to all committee members for discussion.

There was a heated discussion about weed growth which is seriously impacting navigation on both canals. Members criticised SC for not cutting weed during the lockdown but SC claimed that they were only permitted to carry out safety critical work during that period. There is also concern that SC is trying to close down the West end of the F&C by not carrying out maintenance or weed cutting on this section. SC were reminded that they have a statutory obligation to maintain navigation and they stated that they hope to allow transit traffic next year.

Stuart Rennie confirmed that “The Big Splash” has raised £3,505 for the charities so far. LCA and the Glasgow Branch group are not charities and therefore cannot participate. The Big Splash is now included on our website.

The AGM is scheduled for the 26th August. It was agreed LCA should be involved in any future organisation and we should review our position at our next meeting once the future arrangements have been decided.

6. Welcome Pack for New Members

Christine noted that there is a welcome letter for new members on the website.

7. Leaflet Update

Comments on the proposed new leaflet were discussed.

ACTION – All members to advise any changes or additions by Wednesday After that, it will go to the printers

8. Impacts of COVID 19

We have made one payment for assistance. It was agreed that additional funds could be made available if necessary but there have been no further requests.

9. Promotion of LCA

A list of the work done and initiatives raised by LCA in the form of a 3 monthly summary has been put on the website.

We should actively promote the Forum as a way for members to raise and discuss issues affecting them and encourage people to use the Advert function to buy and sell items which need not necessarily be connected with boating. To date, one new article has been added to the forum every month and the intention is to continue with this.

10. LCA Web Site

SC have added a facility for requesting and paying for moorings and licenses onto their website. There is no conflict with LCA adverts page.

Reunion Canal Boats have applied to join the LCA Facebook group. It was agreed that only members should be allowed to use our account.

ACTION – Don to write to Reunion suggesting that they should become corporate members if they wish to use our Facebook.

11. Forum Page

The Forum page is now up and running. It would be useful if members could be advised of new entries as happens with Facebook. Comments on the Forum are those of the individuals who submit the posting and do not necessarily represent the views or carry the endorsement of LCA.

ACTION – Chrisy to investigate whether notifications are feasible and update the statement to clarify LCA’s position.

12. Contact with Other Organisations

It was agreed that the Boaters Group should not be supported in future and closed down in 3 months time. In order to encourage it’s members to join LCA, a letter explaining the benefits of LCA membership should be sent to all, along with the closure notification.

ACTION – Pierre to prepare a draft notice for review by the committee.

Corporate affiliation to the Inland Waterways Association would cost £54 per year. The benefits would include insurance cover and access to all their technical papers.

ACTION – Christine to contact Richard Davies to clarify the details of the insurance and technical information.

The Glasgow Branch deal with local issues and events in their immediate environment and should consider affiliating to the LCA.

ACTION – Christine to arrange a visit to Spiers Wharf to gather information. Once the furlough is over, Pierre and Robin should visit the Glasgow branch to discuss the role of LCA and encourage them to become affiliate members.

13. Boat Movement Survey

Detailed information about the number of boat movements on the canal is currently only available from the records kept by SC Boat Movements team. There are no records for trips on the Union Canal or on the summit pound of the F&C and in recent years navigation has been severely impacted by bridge closures and other maintenance issues. In order to provide evidence to support navigation across the entire network, LCA propose to carry out a survey to be sent to all boaters on the network to identify how many trips they have made in the past. It will also ask how many trips they would make if there were no restrictions to navigation. It should also be sent to potential transit users via Cathy Gostick of the RYA.

The wording of the survey, which will be given a high priority, will be discussed and agreed by the committee so that it can be sent out as soon as possible. Involvement of SC in distribution of the survey to all boaters was considered and is a possible option to maximise distribution.

ACTION – All to submit suggestions for a title for the survey and details of suitable questions to Chrisy by Saturday. Then a small group will collate the survey for distribution.

14. Flotilla of Lights

Pierre advised SC that the proposed date for the flotilla is 21st November so they could organise their maintenance programme to permit F&C boaters to participate. They replied that this again clashes with the schedule for the Wheel. The dates for maintenance were not discussed at the Nav and Safety meeting although other closures were. Boaters will be advised of the date once we have agreed them with SC.

ACTION – Chrisy to contact SC to discuss changing their programme or identifying alternative dates for the flotilla.

15.Disposal of Pollutants

SC are following the lead of CRT by not providing facilities for disposal of pollutants such as oil and coolant water. They advise that boaters should use the disposal centres provided by their local council. There may be issues with the separation of oil and coolant water depending on the system at each disposal centre.

ACTION – Don is preparing a list of all council facilities near the canals for publication on our website.

16.Legal Status of Scottish Canals

There has been a significant and important change in the status of SC. It has been reported in Scottish Canals Executive Board minutes and has started from April this year 2020.

A Public Corporation is a public body which is expected to raise more than half of its total income from trading. British Waterways Board was previously able to do this on a GB wide basis but the Scottish component alone was not in that position. At the time of the transfer, the Scottish Government were convinced that as a standalone Scottish body it would soon become profitable. That claim led to the Scottish Government declaring Scottish Canals to be a Public Corporation, with less oversight and regulation by Transport Scotland. 

With the new CEO in place, accounts have been looked at more closely. It was obvious that there was no way to generate the income required from being a Public Corporation so Scottish Canals have changed status back to being a Non Departmental Public Body.

As an NDPB there is more scrutiny by Transport Scotland and ultimately by Ministers. So NDPB status gives us greater scope to hold the board to account, through MSP’s if required and try to influence things at a policy level.

17. Awards for Boaters

Chrisy proposed establishing a series of awards for boaters and bank staff who have gone out of the way to be helpful to the canal community. The committee will pull together a list of categories and will distribute them when approved by the committee, hopefully at the next meeting.

ACTION – Chrisy will circulate some suggested categories and others can add additional subjects

18. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be Monday 14th September 2020 at 6.30pm, either at the Union Hotel in Falkirk or at Christine’s in Lennoxtown. Chocolates and food may be served depending on the venue.

If any member wishes to attend, they should contact a committee member. We are a grass roots organisation and would welcome participation and contributions from our members.


NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD USING SKYPE ON 29-06-2020

Attendees

Pierre Potel, Don Williams, Christine Cameron, Chrisy Southgate, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser and Neil Kitchener.

Robin has a poor internet connection and was contacted by phone after the meeting.

1 Finance

The finances are still in good order[NK1] .

Since the New Year, 4 new members have joined and 16 existing members have renewed their membership.

There are still issues with both the Paypal and Clydesdale Bank Accounts. An appointment made with the bank was cancelled due to the virus controls.

ACTION – Bev and Christine still to rearrange an appointment with the bank to resolve the problems.

2 Storage for Residential Boaters

The Ombudsman advised that the investigation was due to start on 6th March 2020 but there has been no contact at all.

3 Navigation and Safety Committee

The meeting on 4th May was not rescheduled but a Skype meeting is scheduled for Monday 6th July. Chrisy has updated the tracker and sent it to SC.

There are serious concerns about closures on the Glasgow branch. Construction of Garscube Bridge is due to restart shortly and access will be restricted until 24th September. Work on Stockinfield Bridge is due to commence shortly and SC have now said that the canal will be shut for six weeks at some time, probably during the summer to allow the deck to be installed. There may be “windows of opportunity” for navigation but it is unclear what this means. Originally, SC said that there would only be minimal interference with navigation during the construction. These closures are seriously impacting the Glasgow boaters.

Action – Chrisy to add these closures to the tracker, discuss them at the next meeting and report back so LCA can consider what action to take.

4. Dredging and Weed Control

The lowland canals are due to be reopened on 17th July but access in parts may be difficult due to excessive weed growth. Teams have been working since 3rd June, currently heading from Westward from Kirkintilloch towards Glasgow and Westward from Edinburgh towards Linlithgow.

No update on dredging progress.

5 Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The meeting on 25th June, held as a conference call on GoToMeeting was attended by 21 people. Don has sent round a summary of the meeting to all committee members.

The Volunteer Award Scheme has been put on hold for this season and will be carried over to next year. There is a fear that it will be a self-congratulatory arrangement for the usual suspects. The current application criteria can be changed and LCA should consider submitting an application.

ACTION – Christine and Don are to review whether to produce a case study of our support to boaters during the lockdown.

Stuart Rennie gave a detailed presentation on “The Big Splash” which is a vehicle for all charities on the canals to benefit from charitable donations. 14 charities have signed up so far and over £1,000 has been raised. LCA and the Glasgow Branch group are not charities and therefore cannot participate.

The AGM is scheduled for the meeting in August. We receive good information and feedback from the meetings and feel that we can exert influence on SC in certain areas. We should review continued membership of SWfA at the next meeting.

6. Welcome Pack for New Members

Christine has forwarded a draft welcome letter for comments to be discussed at the next committee meeting.

7. Leaflet Update

Comments on the proposed new leaflet to be discussed at the next committee meeting.

8. Impacts of COVID 19

We have made one payment for assistance. It was agreed that additional funds could be made available if necessary.

The letter to SC about concerns over boaters who have been advised to shield went to Paula Carson who was furloughed so it was not forwarded to senior SC staff. Don forwarded it to Richard who stated that SC have taken our issues on board.

9. Promotion of LCA

A summary of the work done and initiatives raised by LCA has been put on the website.

We should actively promote the Forum as a way for members to raise and discuss issues affecting them and encourage people to use the Advert function to buy and sell items which need not necessarily be connected with boating.

10. LCA Web Site

The “Advert” page is working well and numerous items for sale have been placed so far. Items were currently removed after 30 days but this has been extended to 90 days.  It would be useful to record the number of hits on the site to gauge the level of interest.

ACTION – Don to investigate whether the number of hits can be recorded

SC have added a shop selling boating goods onto their website. Don has written to them to clarify what sort of goods they have in mind and identify whether there is a conflict with our Advert page.

11. Forum Page

The Forum page is now up and running. It would be useful if members could be advised of new entries as happens with Facebook. Comments on the Forum are those of the individuals who submit the posting and do not necessarily represent the views or carry the endorsement of LCA.

ACTION – Chrisy to investigate whether notifications are feasible and update the statement to clarify LCA’s position.

LCA have added a story about the purchase of The Duckling, Information about the planned boatels in Edinburgh and a Treasure Hunt around Kirkintilloch to the Forum.

Robin’s letter to SC about Greener Waterways was discussed and it was agreed that LCA should not actively campaign on the subject. However, the letter should be added to the Forum along with the link to the IWA video about Sustainable Propulsion.

ACTION – Chrisy to add the documents to Forum page.

12. Contact with Other Organisations

It was agreed that the Boaters Group should not be supported in future and closed down in 3 months time. In order to encourage it’s members to join LCA, a letter explaining the benefits of LCA membership should be sent to all, along with the closure notification.

ACTION – Pierre to prepare a draft notice for review by the committee.

Corporate affiliation to the Inland Waterways Association was discussed but the costs and benefits were unclear.

ACTION – Christine to contact Richard Davies or Jonathan Mosse for information and advice.

There was a discussion about allowing serving members of SC staff to join LCA. They are not explicitly precluded by the constitution but we do have the right to refuse membership. Anybody can access the public parts of the website but there are concerns about allowing SC staff to access the members only parts which might include sensitive information.

ACTION – Everybody to ensure that documents placed in the public domain do not contain sensitive information.

The Glasgow Branch deal with local issues and events in their immediate environment and should consider affiliating to the LCA.

13. Next Meeting

The next meeting will hopefully be a face to face meeting set for Monday 3rd August 2020 at 6.30pm, either at the Union Hotel in Falkirk or Christine’s garden in Lennoxtown.  Chocolates and food will be served.


NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD USING SKYPE ON 25-05-2020

Attendees

Pierre Potel, Don Williams, Christine Cameron and Neil Kitchener.

Robin has a poor internet connection and was contacted by phone after the meeting.

1 Finance

The finances are still in good order[NK1] .

Since the New Year, 2 new members have joined and 15 existing members have renewed their membership.

There are still issues with both the Paypal and Clydesdale Bank Accounts. An appointment made with the bank was cancelled due to the virus controls.

ACTION – Bev and Christine still to rearrange an appointment with the bank to resolve the problems.

2 Storage for Residential Boaters

The Ombudsman advised that the investigation was due to start on 6th March 2020 but there has been no further information or a decision.

3 Navigation and Safety Committee

SC are only carrying out essential work and the meeting on 4th May has not been rescheduled yet. Don suggested that the meeting could be held on Skype or GoToMeeting. The meetings are every two months and the next is July, then September

Action – Christine to discuss with Chrisy

4. Dredging and Weed Control

The dredging programme started at Auchinstarry but all work on dredging and weed control has stopped because the bank staff have been furloughed for the duration and this work is not considered to be critical. SC are concerned that the recent spell of warm weather and the total lack of boat movements will result in a serious weed problem this year. LCA need to keep a watching brief on the situation and advise SC of problem areas. This was discussed with Robin after the meeting.

ACTION – Robin to contact Richard Millar.

5 Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The meeting on 11th May, held as a conference call on GoToMeeting was attended by 15 people. The technology worked well on a laptop but was not good on a tablet. The next meeting is proposed for the middle of June.

SC confirmed that they have furloughed 46% of their staff and only have limited operatives working at present in order to deal with essential operations such as water control, services for residential boaters and emergencies. They are not dealing with weed cutting but are monitoring the situation across the network. Members expressed grave concern that the weed would get out of control if it was left unattended until restrictions are lifted and the canals could become choked and impassable. It was pointed out that CRT have decided to maintain their weed cutting operations during the lock down.

There was an interesting presentation given by Health Research Department of Glasgow Caledonian University about the beneficial impact on health of people living in close proximity to the canal.

The Volunteer Award Scheme has been put on hold for this season and will be carried over to next year. There is a fear that it will be a self congratulatory arrangement for the usual suspects. LCA should consider submitting an application but we do not comply with the current application criteria.

ACTION – Don to discuss changing the criteria with Stuart Rennie.

6. Welcome Pack for New Members

Christine has forwarded a draft welcome letter for comments to be discussed at the next committee meeting.

7. Leaflet Update

Bev has asked for comments on the proposed new leaflet which have been sent to her.

ACTION –Bev to update leaflet and pass around for approval.

8. Impacts of COVID 19

We have received one requests for assistance and it is being given urgent attention. It was agreed that additional funds could be made available if necessary.

The self-operation of the pumpout facilities at Auchinstarry has been resolved and the laundry facilities have been repaired.

Christine sent a letter to SC about concerns over boaters who have been advised to shield but has not received any response apart from acknowledgement of receipt.

It is unclear whether or not boaters are allowed to move along the canal. A letter from Scott states that it is acceptable for boats to move along the canal but at the SWfA meeting, SC stated that they should not. Don has written to the Transport Minister for clarification on whether or not boaters can use isolated sections of the canal which do not require intervention by SC staff. No response yet.

9. Telephone Questionnaire to Members

The committee contacted every LCA member by phone to check how they are, whether they are in need of assistance or have issues which LCA may be able to resolve. This action received a positive response. Issues raised included algae bloom at Edinburgh, laundry facilities at Auchinstarry, postal deliveries at Bowling, public failing to maintain adequate distance from residential boats and payment of mooring fees during the lockdown.

10. Promotion of LCA

It was suggested that a summary of the work done and initiatives raised by LCA should be prepared as a way of advertising the work we have done during the lockdown.

ACTION – Christine has forwarded a summary for comments which will be discussed at the next meeting.

We should actively promote the Forum as a way for members to raise and discuss issues affecting them and encourage people to use the Advert function to buy and sell items which need not necessarily be connected with boating.

11. LCA Web Site

Four adverts have been placed so far. It is expected that once the canals reopen for business this will be utilised more. It would be useful to record the number of hits on the site to gauge the level of interest.

ACTION – Don to investigate whether the number of hits can be recorded

12. Forum Page

The Forum page is now up and running and in addition to providing a chat room function it will be used to file stories from boaters.

There is an article about the purchase of The Duckling and Bev has also offered to write a story as well.

ACTION – Stories to be put on Forum

ACTION –Christine to encourage other members to write articles for inclusion on the website.

Members should be encouraged to report areas where weed growth is an issue so that we can advise SC.

13. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be a Skype conference call set for Monday 29th June 2020 at 6.30pm.


NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD USING SKYPE ON 30-03-2020

Attendees

Pierre Potel, Don Williams, Christine Cameron, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies were received from Chrissie Southgate, Robin Fryer and Bev Schofield.

1 Finance

The finances are in good order[NK1] .

3 new members have joined during the month and a number of existing members have renewed their membership which has increased the funds.

There are still issues with both the Paypal and Clydesdale Bank Accounts. An appointment made with the bank was cancelled due to the virus controls.

ACTION – Bev and Christine to rearrange appointment with the bank to solve the problems.

David has not submitted his invoice for the work on the website.

ACTION – Christine to raise the issue with Chrissie and Bev to pay it as soon as it is received.

2 Storage for Residential Boaters

The Ombudsman has advised that the investigation will start at the end of March 2020.

3 Navigation and Safety Committee

The tracker for the meeting on 2nd March is on the website.

SC have advised that the baffle for the extractor at Auchinstarry is in the schedule for completion this year.

4. Dredging

The dredging programme started at Auchinstarry but has now stopped because of isolation restrictions.

5 Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

Feedback from the meeting on Monday 9th March will be provided next month. Date for the next meeting is uncertain.

6. Boaters Survey

The survey closed on 20th January and the results will be discussed next month

7. Threat of Evictions

The ombudsman rejected our complaint about evictions. We have written to SC asking for leniency and understanding. Their response appeared to be more conciliatory but they stated that since they charge a fee of £50 for the third letter to defaulters on the Caledonian Canal, they would introduce the charge across the network. The LCA preferred option of removing the penalty altogether was rejected. It was suggested that boaters who are threatened with eviction should contact LCA who will mediate with SC on their behalf. LCA’s policy is to continue to monitor threats of eviction.

8. Events

Robin could not join the conference call because of poor internet connection but wanted the following points to be noted. At the moment, all events are on hold due the virus.

The proposed rally from Falkirk in May has been provisionally rescheduled for 4th October 2020.

The Kirkintilloch Canal Festival may be postponed but they could offer us a stall in the street on Sunday to display our promotional materials etc for £50. Robin’s idea of having a boat in the marina or on the jetty with LCA banners etc would be a better option with no cost penalty and leaflets could be distributed from there.

The Glasgow Canal Festival may be postponed but they could offer us a site for a stall to display our promotional materials etc. There will not be any moorings close by for visiting boats.

Robin has made contact with the organisers of the Clyde Built Festival who are interested in involving LCA to show the link to the canals. It will be worth Robin following this up next year as he has undertaken the initial networking.

If we do attend public gatherings with a stall to promote the Association then we may need to consider taking out public liability insurance.

9. Welcome Pack

It was proposed that the existing promotional flyer should be modified to make it suitable for the welcome pack. It will include a link to the Directory of Services and Nautoroute

ACTION – Christine to forward a set of bullet points so Bev can update leaflet.

Bev has offered to write articles about life on the canals for the website.

10. Cross Party Group

Sean advised that he is happy to continue representing LCA at these meetings. If he is indisposed then another committee member will stand in for him.

11. Boat Maintenance Facilities

Pierre contacted Richard Millar regarding maintenance facilities and got a favourable response. They discussed the current and possible options. Richard suggested that they may be an opportunity to provide a wharf for craneage and hard standing at the old Irn Bru site near Lock 16 and agreed to consider this option.

Don has discovered a scheme for funding up to £20,000 for inland waterways projects which benefit tourism

Action – Don to forward the link to the committee.

12. Impacts of COVID 19

A letter was sent to SC yesterday, asking them to consider deferring charges for mooring and licences for deserving cases for the duration of the lock down. Their initial response that we could expect a response within 20 days was disappointing so a further e-mail was sent.

Post Meeting Note. –  SC responded almost immediately to our follow up E-Mail and both Catherine and Richard have acknowledged that the issue is under serious consideration and a formal response is expected this week. Boaters who cannot pay will not be threatened with eviction.

ACTION – Pierre to send out copies of correspondence to boaters and suggest that those in financial difficulties should advise contact him in the first instance.

A local business has converted their operations to make hand sanitiser and may be willing to make supplies freely available to charitable organisations which LCA could then distribute to residential boaters.

ACTION – Don to check this out with the manufacturer and send information to the committee.

The committee unanimously agreed that LCA would ringfence £100 as a welfare budget to be used to buy food parcels for any member in extenuating circumstances. For example, new claimants for Universal Credit have to wait 5 weeks for their first payment. Occasionally they may get a crisis loan but not always. Confidentiality is crucial and perhaps only two committee members should be involved in the administration. Members who are in a precarious financial situation and are unable to feed themselves properly should contact Christine or Robin for help using our limited resources or advising the details of food banks.

ACTION – Pierre to prepare a draft letter to members for comment.

13. Promotion of LCA

In order to publicise the work and success of LCA in representing the interests of boaters it was suggested that a quarterly update of issues is produced and sent round to all members. It should also be sent to members of the Boaters Group with a view to encouraging them to sign up. The four reports will form the basis of the report for the AGM.

ACTION – Christine to prepare a draft of issues for the last three months and forward to the committee for comment.

SC are attending canal festivals in England to publicise canals in Scotland. Their offer to distribute LCA promotional material was appreciated but it would be more useful if they could distribute the material in Scotland as well.

ACTION – Christine to pass copies of the leaflet to Jose.

14. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be a Skype conference call set for Monday 27th April 2020 at 6.30pm.

Thank you for the work undertaken by everyone, being the voice of the boaters during this difficult time. We have a wide range of skills and experience. It’s good that we are able to carry on.

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD AT ASHCROFT WALK LENNOXTOWN ON 27-02-2020

Attendees

Pierre Potel, Don Williams, Christine Cameron, Chrissie Southgate, Robin Fryer and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies were received from Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser and Bev Schofield.

1 Finance

The finances are in good order[NK1] .

The dates for renewal of membership have been changed and reminders will be sent out on the  anniversary of joining. When members pay by direct transfer, the only record of payment is on the bank statement. 4 subscriptions have been received this month.

ACTION – Christine to advise Don of all direct transfers so that he can update the subscription register.

2 Storage for Residential Boaters

Christine is still awaiting a response from the Ombudsman and was advised that there is a backlog of several weeks.

3 Navigation and Safety Committee

After the cancellation of the meeting in January, SC updated the tracker. There was a discussion over the topics for the next meeting scheduled for 2nd March.

ACTION – Chrissie to forward the updated tracker to the committee following the Nav and Safety meeting.

Evacuation points are now on the tracker. SC will be pushed to mark the location points on the Skippers Guide. LCA to consider updating the chart and including it on the members section of the LCA website in the meantime if SC do not update the guide.

ACTION – Chrissie to chase up SC.

Pierre expressed concern that there are only limited locations where contaminated fluids such as oil, dirty diesel, bilge fluids and coolant can be disposed of safely leading to the risk that they will be dumped in the canal causing environmental pollution.

ACTION – Chrissie to add to the action tracker

4 Weed Control

No response yet from SC regarding Robin’s counter proposal to the rates for the use of diesel.

No response yet from SC regarding suggestions to modify the existing weed cutter and loading up dredging pans and towing along the canal like a plough.

ACTION – Christine to E-Mail Paula Carson for an update re turbidity.

Chrissie stated that SC have not contacted Keith Gallagher following his presentation at the AGM.

5. Dredging

The dredging programme is due to start at Auchinstarry next week.

The suggestion by the LCA for using dredging arisings as a filler in sandbags for use in emergency situations might also attract additional funding from the Scottish Parliament which is earmarked for “green projects”.

ACTION – Chrissie to ask for an update.

Following a discussion about damage to boats caused by striking obstructions or where the canal is too shallow, it was suggested that boaters might wish to claim for damage to the hull.

ACTION – Members should be asked to submit their comments on the suggestion via the forum,

6 Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The next meeting is on Monday 9th March. Don and Neil will provide feedback next month.

Mark Smith provided a current list of names of SC operational staff. He was asked to provide the information which had been originally requested which was an annual summary of staff numbers since 2012, including seasonal staff. It was also pointed out that providing individual names contravened GDPR legislation. It was agreed that the figures were inaccurate and concerns were raised about staffing and volunteer levels.

It was noted that the Nav and Safety tracker is linked to SWfA.

It was originally agreed that the effectiveness of the committee would be reviewed after 12 months which is up in April.

ACTION – Don and Neil are to remind the group at the next meeting

7 Website

The website has now been fully transferred to the new host and details of all paid members have been added.

The forum/chat room has been set up with admin by Dave and Chrissie and moderation by Don. It will only be available for use by paid up members. Rules for use of the chat room need to be established but abusive and irrelevant conversations will not be tolerated.

Pierre advised that there are issues with the drop down menus when using a laptop.

ACTION – Chrissie to investigate and resolve.

It was agreed that the options and costs for a Gumtree type of site for selling articles will be investigated. There is no intention to charge members for using the site. Entries on the directory of services will remain free but the possibility of charging companies who wish to place adverts may be considered. Don expressed concern that we have only limited income and must be careful not to overextend ourselves.

ACTION – Chrissie to get an estimate for the cost of setting up a site.

Bev’s Nautoroute is now live on the website but still requires a few tweaks to improve it’s operability.

ACTION – Bev to update Nautoroute and send to Chrissie.

Pierre had proposed that a section on “Meet the Team” giving info about committee members could be added to the website. Christine, Neil and Don have completed their details.

ACTION – Other committee members to write a brief personal note for “Meet the Team” and send to Chrissie for placing on the website.

A vote of thanks to Don, Chrissie and her father for their sterling work in updating the website,

8. Boaters Survey

The survey closed on 20th January and the results should be published by the end of February. We await the results with interest.

9. Threat of Evictions

The response from SC about the threat of evictions rejected our claims again and maintained that their procedures are fair and reasonable. It was agreed that we should send a complaint to the Ombudsman

ACTION – Christine to write to the Ombudsman

10. Community Moorings

Still not signed up.

11. Glasgow Branch

The boaters in Glasgow are very active community and manage to source funding for a number of projects. It was suggested that Pierre and Robin should attend one of their Branch Meetings to introduce themselves to the members and discuss the benefits of collaboration with LCA.

ACTION – Pierre to contact Sean to discuss the options.

12. Events

Robin has volunteered to take responsibility for organising events on behalf of LCA, except for the Carnival of Lights which will remain with Pierre, but Robin is looking for help with the arrangements.

It was agreed that it may not be practical to arrange for a flotilla of boats to attend the Glasgow Canal Festival but it might be advantageous to set up a stall to promote our organisation.

Following the difficulties with last year’s Falkirk flotilla there is little interest in this year’s event. It was suggested that the chat room could be used to gauge interest before LCA commit to being involved in the organisation of this year’s rally.

ACTION – Robin to gauge interest among boaters.

There are other festivals such as Kirkintilloch and Clyde Built where the presence of canal boats or a stall may be beneficial.

13. Welcome Pack

Sean proposed issuing a welcome pack to all new members which could include maps, the directory, lease information and other relevant items. It was agreed that a welcome pack should be in the form of a letter.

ACTION – Christine to write a draft and circulate to the committee for comment.

14. Cross Party Group

Sean advised that he will attend the next meeting in Leith on 3rd March, along with Bev. Sean has received information from Gordon Daly.

15. IWA Report on Greening our Waterways

Robin suggested that the committee should read the IWA report on Greening the Waterways which sets out a vision for the future of boat propulsion, see link below, for discussion at the next meeting.

https://www.waterways.org.uk/blog/greening_our_waterways

ACTION – All to review report

16. Boat Maintenance Facilities

Pierre expressed concern that there is a severe shortage of places on the network where boats can be removed from the water for work on the hull or prop shaft. Dry docks are available for use at Falkirk and Ratho and there is a slipway at the Stables near Kirkintilloch. Boats can be craned out of the water at a number of locations but the technical and procedural difficulties make it an expensive option. There are a number of places such as Twechar and Auchinstarry where small boats can be slipped but they are not suitable for narrowboats. There are issues with fume extraction and pollution when using Ratho drydock.

We should consider approaching SC to see if they can refurbish the redundant dry docks at Maryhill or Kirkintilloch or develop a wharf with suitable hard standing where simple crane access will be feasible, possibly at Twechar

It was also suggested that a slipway or wharf could be included in the new development at Winchburgh but if they were not included in the planning application it might be too late for it to be constructed.

ACTION – Chrissie to raise the issue at the Nav and Safety meeting. Pierre also to contact SC to review the options

17 Pollution Control

There have been many reported issues with blockages of fuel systems, particularly in farm machinery, following the introduction of increased targets for biofuel in red diesel which contains a proportion of waxes. Don has forwarded a thorough explanation about the issues of diesel bug and red diesel.

ACTION – Pierre to contact engine manufacturers and ask about diesel cleanliness and methods for ensuring best/leanest combustion including recommended additives.

18. Mooring Leases

A query was raised about whether the payment of a lease for a mooring constituted rent.

ACTION – Christine to ask Paula Carson for clarification and give background information.

SC had sent an updated version of the residential lease. It was noted that leases will increase annually at CPI and a new pricing review will take place in 2023.

19. Next Meeting

The next meeting is set for 30th March 2020 at 6.30pm at the Union Inn Falkirk. Robin to book the premises.

Thanks to everyone for their input.


NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD AT UNION INN, FALKIRK ON 14-01-2020

Attendees

Pierre Potel, Don Williams, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Christine Cameron, Chrissie Southgate, and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies were received from Robin Fryer and Bev Schofield.

1 Finance

The finances are in good order.

It was agreed to change the date for renewal of subscriptions from April 5th to 12 months after members join. This would mean that income would come in throughout the year and would avoid the calculation of pro rata payments for part years. Don agreed to supervise the process and ensure that members pay on time.

ACTION – Chrissie is to provide schedule of joining dates for all members and change the membership software so that reminders are sent out on the anniversary of joining.

2 Storage for Residential Boaters

Many residential boaters across the network do not have storage facilities. Christine’s complaints about lack of provision of storage for residential boaters have not been dealt with satisfactorily by SC. It was referred to the Ombudsman in December and we are awaiting a response.

3 Navigation and Safety Committee

The meeting in January was cancelled due to sickness. but SC have agreed to update the tracker. The next meeting is scheduled for 2nd March.

ACTION – Chrissie to forward the tracker to SC for updating.

The construction of a jetty/pontoon at the New Wave development is now on the tracker. The slippery pontoons at Ratho and Auchinstarry have also been added to the tracker.

SC propose to mark the location of the emergency evacuation points on the Skippers Guide. They have said that it will only be available on the website because they do not intend to update and reprint the hard copy. However, but they have not yet been included. LCA to consider updating the chart and including it on the members section of the LCA website in the meantime.

ACTION – Chrissie to add evacuation points to the tracker.

4 Weed Control

Robin attended a meeting with Richard Millar to review the LCA proposal. Nothing will happen till the end of the winter/early spring. SC proposed rates for the use of diesel which were inadequate and Robin has issued a counter proposal but no response yet.

Davy Brown’s suggestions to modify the existing weed cutter to enhance it’s performance by adding beams to the rear outriggers to enable it to scrape the bed of the canal were also discussed. Other suggestions such as loading up dredging pans to create the required draft and towing along the canal like a plough were also discussed but no response from SC yet.

ACTION – Chrissie to check with Keith Gallagher whether he has had any contact with SC following his presentation at the AGM.

5. Dredging

The proposal for using dredging arisings as a filler in sandbags for use in emergency situations might also attract additional funding from the Scottish Parliament which is earmarked for “green projects”.

6 Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

The last meeting was attended by Rob McGregor, one of the new SC Board members. He appeared clued up and supportive of our aims. Jonathan Mosse gave a presentation on training which also covered ways SC could raise additional finance. Very limited progress has been made in addressing topics on the action tracker and most of the champions, apart from Don, did not seem to have followed up their issues since the last meeting. If anything, the list of actions is getting longer. It is felt that there are too many attendees at the meetings and not sufficient focus on addressing the actions.

It was agreed that pressure on the Cabinet Secretary to release more funds and ensure that SC carry out their statutory responsibilities to maintain navigation should be maintained. Neil has forwarded the LCA letter to the Cabinet Secretary and his response to the whole SWfA Group.

Mark Smith provided a current list of names of SC operational staff. He was asked to provide the information originally requested which was a summary of annual staff numbers since 2012, including seasonal staff. It was also pointed out that providing individual names contravened GDPR legislation.

It was originally agreed that the effectiveness of the committee would be reviewed after 12 months which is up in April.

ACTION – Don and Neil are to remind the group at the next meeting

7 Website

There may now be an opportunity to develop a chat room and a Gumtree type site for selling articles.

ACTION – Chrissie to arrange transfer of website and develop chat room etc.

Bev’s Nautoroute is now on the website but still requires a few tweaks to improve it’s operability.

ACTION – Bev to update Nautoroute and send to Chrissie.

Access to the members only section and passwords has been sorted.

Pierre is having difficulties connecting to the webmail on his mobile phone.

ACTION – Chrissie to investigate and resolve with Pierre.

Pierre had proposed that a section on Meet the Team giving info about committee members could be added to the website. Christine, Neil and Don have completed their details.

ACTION – Other committee members to write a brief personal note for “Meet the Team” and send to Chrissie for placing on the website.

8. Petition for an Independent Water Ombudsman

The petition was rejected by the Committee at their meeting on 5th December and the letter of rejection was sent to LCA committee members. The Petitions Committee were misled into believing that SWfA would address the issues which had been raised. In reality, SWfA is purely an advisory body which has no teeth and cannot act as an ombudsman since it’s constitution says that SC are able to overrule or ignore any of their recommendations. A response to the rejection letter has been sent to the Petitions Committee and forwarded to LCA committee. We were advised that we could make another submission in 12 months time.

9. Boaters Survey

The survey closes on 20th January and the results should be published by early February. We await the results with interest.

10. Threat of Evictions

The response from SC about the threat of evictions rejected our claims and maintained that their procedures are fair and reasonable. It was agreed that we should continue to press SC.

ACTION – Pierre to contact all parties who have been so threatened to forward copies of all relevant correspondence with SC to Christine so she can prepare a suitable response to SC

Don has forwarded links to the T&Cs for residential boaters and the complaints procedure.

11. Community Moorings

Still not signed up.

12. Issues at Glasgow

SC have promised to provide post boxes at Applecross St to resolve Sean’s issues with non-delivery of post.

There are minimal facilities provided at Spiers and yet the mooring charges are higher than at Applecross St. SC are proposing to provide more mooring on the off side between Applecross St and Firhill Basin. Provision of access and facilities may be issues needing to be resolved.

13. Events

Robin has volunteered to take responsibility for organising events on behalf of LCA, except for the Carnival of Lights which will remain with Pierre, but Robin is looking for help with the arrangements.

ACTION – Christine to respond to Paula Carson’s E-Mail nominating her for the role of coordinator for the    in May

14. Welcome Pack

Sean proposed issuing a welcome pack to all new members which could include maps, the directory, lease information and other relevant items.

ACTION – Christine to review and provide a list of what could be included for discussion at the next meeting.

15. Cross Party Group

Sean advised that he will attend the next meeting in Leith on 3rd March, along with Bev. Sean has received information from Gordon Daly.

16. Next Meeting

Date of next meeting set for 18th February 2020 at 6.30pm. The premises are booked.

Bracken and Freckles have been elected honorary members, representing dogs and dog walkers on the canal

Thanks to everyone for their input


NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD AT UNION INN FALKIRK ON 19-11-2019

Attendees

Robin Fryer, Don Williams, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Christine Cameron, Chrissie Southgate, Bev Schofield and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies were received from Pierre Potel,

1 Finance

The finances are in good order

ACTION – Bev is to produce a financial report summarising the state for the AGM.

2 Storage for Residential Boaters

Many residential boaters across the network do not have storage facilities. Christine’s complaints about lack of provision of storage for residential boaters have not been dealt with satisfactorily by SC so they will be referred to the Ombudsman

3 Navigation and Safety Committee

The last meeting in November was cancelled but some of the queries were dealt with by E-Mail. The next meeting is scheduled for 6th January.

The proposed New Wave development in Edinburgh will not pose any air draft restrictions but the use of pontoons will severely restrict the navigable width and all parties prefer the construction of a jetty.

SC propose to mark the location of the emergency evacuation points on the Skippers Guide but it will only be available on the website because SC do not intend to update and reprint the hard copy.

ACTION – Chrissie to produce a summary of her work over the past year for the AGM

4 Weed Control

Robin attended a meeting with Richard Millar to review the LCA proposal. Nothing will happen till the end of the winter/early spring. SC proposed rates for the use of diesel which were inadequate and Robin has issued a counter proposal but no response yet.

Davy Brown’s suggestions to modify the existing weed cutter to enhance it’s performance by adding beams to the rear outriggers to enable it to scrape the bed of the canal were also discussed. Other suggestions such as loading up dredging pans to create the required draft and towing along the canal like a plough were also discussed but no response from SC yet.

5 Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

Don has produced a summary of the work of the group for the AGM.

6 Website

There are problems with PHP and LCN which may cause security issues and the current contract ends in April. It was agreed that we should change from LCN, forecast cost for next year is £89.94, to Mainplus who will provide hosting, E-Mails, backups and maintenance for the sum of £208 and provide a more reliable service. It is important that existing E-Mails are still accessible. The annual domain renewal is still payable to LCN and will be £22.68. There may now be an opportunity to develop a chat room and a Gumtree type site for selling articles.

ACTION – Chrissie to arrange transfer of website and develop chat room etc.

Bev’s Nautoroute is now on the website but still requires a few tweaks. Access to the members only section is restricted to only those who have paid their subscriptions, pending members do not have access but it is not clear whether members who do not renew their subscriptions are prevented from accessing the section. Some original members who joined without using the web link have still not been given their passwords.

ACTION –Chrissie to ensure that all paid up members are provided with passwords so they can access the site as well as blocking unpaid members.

7. Petition for an Independent Water Ombudsman

Following recent submissions from SC, LCA submitted a final document which is now on the Government website. The date for the next meeting of the committee has still not been confirmed.

(Post meeting note:- The petition will be discussed in Parliament on 5th December)

8. Boaters Survey

SC are proposing to send out a consultations survey to all boaters in the next few weeks but the concern is that they will hide any bad reviews to improve their score. LCA should consider whether or not to submit a response to the survey

9. Lowland Canal User Group Meeting

Chrissie’s presentation of the work of the Nav and Safety Committee to the User Group meeting was well received.

Lack of security across the network was raised as a serious issue and particular concern was expressed about the probable problems with the proposed development at Claypits which is close to Possilpark.

10. Threat of Evictions

The letter from LCA about the threat of evictions was sent to SC and a copy is on the website. No response so far other than an acknowledgement of receipt. Jonathan Mosse has provided links to two English websites which deal with rights for residential boaters.

ACTION – Christine to forward E-Mail to committee.

11. Community Moorings

Still not signed up.

12. Issues at Glasgow

Sean explained that boaters in Glasgow have issues with non-delivery of post through SC office at Applecross St. A letter of complaint has been sent to SC.

There have also been occasions when holiday boats have been able to access Spiers Wharf in spite of the fact that he had been told that access during construction of Garscube Bridge was prohibited. Loss of access has impacted his business.

13. Letter to the Minister of Transport

It was agreed that LCA will write to the Minister of Transport.

Action – Christine to prepare a draft for the committee to review.

14. Annual General Meeting

It was agreed that the AGM will be held at 19:00hrs on Tuesday 3rd December at the Union Inn at Lock 16 in Falkirk. Food will be provided up to £100.

ACTION – Robin to arrange with the pub

Simple presentations from the Chairperson summarising the achievements of LCA such as the Ombudsman Petition, weeding proposal, festival of lights, deferring construction of Garscube Bridge etc should be prepared. Chrissie will summarise the achievements of the Nav and Safety committee and suggested that development of the website should be included on the agenda.

Chrissie volunteered to arrange for a speaker from a weed control company  to make a presentation on weed control

15. Next Meeting

Date of next meeting set for 14th January 2020 at 6.30pm. The premises are booked.

Thanks to everyone for their input


MINUTES OF LCA COMMITTEE MEETING – 21.10.2019

1 Apologies and minutes approved.

Present at the meeting were Robin, Chrisy, Sean, Ania and Pierre

2 Financial Update

There was no Financial update for this particular meeting as there was no treasurer’s report.

3 Safety and Navigation

Chrisy notified the committee  that the next Nav and Safety meeting with SC had been cancelled but will stress SC that this shouldn’t occur on a regular basis as unproductive.

4 Ratho “Wave Garden”

A surf park project called “wave Garden” is to be developed in Ratho and there is a plan for the construction of a bridge.

Gordon Daly informed a few Boaters that such proposal was to be looked at and commented on.

Chrisy has undertaken to contact Edinburgh City Council to clarify a few items;

-Air draught not specified on drawings,

-will there be a pontoon of a jetee for Canal Boats to tie on

-Navigation width not specified,

-What could the Navigation disruption be during the work?

Chrisy to call Edinburgh City Council and to see if there could be a possibility of a landing stage (something similar to Narrow Boat Farm project…)

Approach CMS about it…

5 Glasgow holiday boats visits despite Canal Closure

Sean and Ania have explained their frustration as 3 holiday boats have reached Glasgow Applecross Street since the Canal officially Closed on 16th Sept for the Firhill Bridge fabricationided within a week.

They issued a letter to Scott McMurray asking his view on the matter and are waiting for a response from him

Chrisy to contact him if no response is provided within a week.

6 AGM advertising.

A letter has to be issued to the members informing of the Agenda of the coming AGM.

An invitation must be made to recruit new candidates at the same time.

Sean could advertise on Facebook the Glasgow Branch to make them aware of the event.

Survey Monkey might be used to allow members who won’t be attending the actual AGM to vote.

Members should be asked if they have any questions to the Committee.

7 Website/Comms

Pierre commented on the fact that emails coming from Webmail are only written in plain text and not Rich text.

Chrisy to look at it.

8 Flotilla of Lights update

The line up of boaters is rising constantly and there were 13 boats interested in joing the events at the time of this meeting (it has now climbed up to 22!).

The Whole weekend should be memorable (Bonfire with Fireworks and Flotilla the next day).

Canalside Community action Group has relayed the info and Pierre manage to pass the message to 2 schools near the Canal (Craiglockhart  Primary School and Steiner School) so that Fanilies can come to enjoy the fun.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

Tues 19/11/19  at 6.30 pm at Lock 16, Falkirk.

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD AT UNION INN FALKIRK ON 16-09-2019

Attendees

Pierre Potel, Robin Fryer, Don Williams, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Christine Cameron, Chrissie Southgate and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies were received from Bev Schofield.

1 Finance

The finances are in better order since seven members have paid their subscriptions following Pierre’s reminder.

Two new members joined this month.

2 Storage for Residential Boaters

Christine has submitted two formal complaints about lack of provision of storage facilities for residential boaters, a general complaint on behalf of all boaters and a specific complaint about The Duckling. Negative responses from SC were received so the complaints have been raised to the next level.

ACTION – Christine to forward copies of SC’s responses to the committee for information, including one received on 19th September.

3 Navigation and Safety Committee

76 issues have been raised by the committee, 50 have been closed out, 3 are almost closed and 23 are still ongoing. Full details can be found on the Action Tracker which is on the website.

The next meeting on user operation of the locks and bridges, which may be complicated by the requirement to notify the emergency services when bridges are to be opened, has been arranged for 18th September.

ACTION – Chrissie to provide feedback to the committee.

SC have produced three options for signing visitor moorings which have been forwarded on a Survey Monkey to the committee.

ACTION – All to respond to the survey and Chrissie to reply to SC.

Following a few collisions on his boat, Pierre is concerned that there are insufficient signs to warn boaters to slow down when passing moorings, particularly at Ratho.

ACTION – Chrissie to add warning notices to the Action Tracker and suggest that the hire boat operators instruct their clients accordingly.

The next meeting on 4th November has been cancelled but Chrissie will update the Action Tracker and Paula will provide answers to each topic.

4 Weed Control

Weed cutting on the Union is very sporadic due to staff shortages but it is progressing on the Forth and Clyde. SC have submitted procedural guidelines for providing fuel for boaters to use their boats to increase the turbidity of the water. It is accepted that it could be more effective on the Union because of the reduced depth and width as well as the encroachment of marginal weeds reducing the width still further. Robin has discussed the scheme with Richard Millar and prepared a summary of suggested changes.

ACTION – All to review and respond to Robin’s comments who will then pass them on to SC.

Davy Brown’s suggestions to modify the existing weed cutter to enhance it’s performance by adding beams to the rear outriggers to enable it to scrape the bed of the canal were discussed briefly.

ACTION – All to review Davy’s proposal and discuss at the next meeting.

5 Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

Don and Neil gave feedback on the recent meeting

An action list of 50 items raised by the members, broken down into 9 headings, was discussed and champions, who will be responsible for chasing up the actions, were appointed for each section. Don agreed to champion boater issues. Detailed discussion of the list was deferred until the next meeting.

The executive board have decided that they will not recognise SWfA or permit a representative to attend their meetings. Grave disappointment was expressed by everybody since SC have been very supportive of the establishment of the organisation. The chairman of the board will be invited to the next SWfA meeting which is scheduled for 4th November.

Richard Millar and Mark Smith gave good presentations on dredging and weeding to explain the rationale and issues with both subjects. Dredging will be done inhouse but insufficient funding is available to maintain the current state in each canal, let alone reduce the backlog. The total expenditure to deal with dredging across the whole network is £6million, the annual spend just to keep pace with the continuing inflow of silt is £600,000 whereas their current budget is only£100,000. Dredging will be targeted at the most serious areas. It is hoped that copies of both presentations will be forwarded to members which can then be put on the website for general circulation.

SC intend to increase the use of volunteers for both operations but there may be issues with training. There are fears that excessive use of volunteers is allowing SC to reduce their skilled operational staff, making maintenance more difficult and deskilling existing staff. Following a request from Richard Davies, SC have still not provided the details of the numbers of operational staff over the past few years.

ACTION – Don to forward minutes and other documentation from the meeting to all committee members.

6 Website

Bev’s Nautoroute is now on the website but still requires a few tweaks. Access to the members only section is restricted to only those who have paid their subscriptions, pending members do not have access but it is not clear whether members who do not renew their subscriptions are prevented from accessing the section. Some original members who joined without using the web link have still not been given their passwords.

ACTION –Chrissie to ensure that all paid up members are provided with passwords so they can access the site as well as blocking unpaid members.

ACTION – Chrissie to investigate how to ensure that lapsed members lose their access to members section.

Sean advised that the Canal Cooperative have up to £13,000 which is available to fund training and community projects but it must be spent before January. Glasgow boaters have organised for Pierre to run two courses on boat maintenance.

ACTION – All to submit suggestions for other projects to Sean.

ACTION – Chrissie to update website.

Pierre proposed that a section on Meet the Team giving info about committee members could be added to the website. Christine, Neil and Don have completed their details.

ACTION – Other committee members to write a brief personal note for “Meet the Team” and send to Chrissie for placing on the website.

Pierre has received an E-Mail concerning boaters’ rights.

ACTION – Pierre to forward information on boaters’ rights to the committee for discussion at the next meeting.

Updating the website was discussed but the options and costs are unclear.

ACTION – Chrissie to review the options and costs for maintaining and updating the website and circulate to the committee for discussion at the next meeting.

7. Petition for an Independent Ombudsman

Following recent submissions from SC, LCA submitted a final document which is now on the Government website. The date for the next meeting of the committee has still not been confirmed.

8 Flotilla of Lights

Ten boats have signed up for the flotilla so far but it is hoped that more will join up. The Wheel will be undergoing annual maintenance at the time but Richard Millar has arranged for access through the Wheel the weekends before and after the event so that boats from the Forth and Clyde can participate.

It was agreed that LCA will provide £100 for the fireworks and provision of charcoal for the barbecue as well as help with lighting for the boats.

ACTION – Pierre will send another E-Mail to boaters nearer the time to encourage participation in the bonfire and flotilla.

9. Boaters Survey

SC are proposing to send out a Satisfaction Survey to all Boaters but the concern is that they will hide any bad reviews to improve their score. It was suggested that boaters should be encouraged to copy their responses to LCA.

10. Additional Contacts

Christine tried to make contact with James Hale on the Crinan and David Eddes at Inverness but has not received any response so far.

11. Lowland Canal User Group Meeting

The meeting for the Forth and Clyde Canal is scheduled for 3rd October in Kirkintilloch Town Hall. Christine is unable to attend but wants to submit questions to SC prior to the meeting.

ACTION – All to send questions to Christine so that she can submit them on behalf of LCA

12. Threat of Evictions

It would appear that SC are rather heavy handed and use the threat of eviction at the first sign of trouble. This causes unnecessary grief and worry, particularly for residential boaters who have raised the issue with LCA.

ACTION – Christine to draft letter re eviction for discussion at the next committee meeting

13. Annual General Meeting

It was agreed that the AGM will be held at 18:30hrs on Tuesday 3rd December at the Union Inn at Lock 16 in Falkirk.

Simple presentations from the Chairperson summarising the achievements of LCA such as the Ombudsman Petition, weeding proposal, festival of lights, deferring construction of Garscube Bridge etc should be prepared. Chrissie will summarise the achievements of the Nav and Safety committee and suggested that development of the website should be included on the agenda.

ACTION – Pierre to send advance notice of AGM to all members and the Boaters Group and follow up with a reminder nearer the date.

ACTION – Bev to prepare a set of accounts for the past year.

ACTION – Chrissie to add details of the AGM to the website.

14. Next Meeting

Date of next meeting set for 21st October 2019 at 6.30pm.  The premises are booked.

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD AT UNION INN FALKIRK ON 12-08-2019

Attendees

Pierre Potel, Robin Fryer, Don Williams, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Christine Cameron, Chrissie Southgate and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies were received from Bev Schofield.

1 Finance

The finances are in reasonable order but there are a significant number of unpaid subscriptions including some who have not yet renewed their membership as well as those who have never paid.

One new member joined this month.

ACTION – Pierre is to write to all unpaid members reminding them that their fees are due and explaining the benefits of being members.

2 Storage for Residential Boaters

Christine has submitted two formal complaints about lack of provision of storage facilities for residential boaters, a general complaint on behalf of all boaters and a specific complaint about The Duckling. Responses from SC were received this afternoon but she did not have time to study them in detail.

ACTION – Christine to forward copies of SC’s responses to the committee for information.

ACTION – Chrissie to put LCA letter of complaint on the website.

3 Navigation and Safety Committee

Weedcutting on the Union is very sporadic due to staff shortages but it is progressing on the Forth and Clyde. Still no progress on LCA proposal for providing fuel for boaters to use their boats to increase the turbidity of the water although SC have prepared procedural guidelines for operating the system. It is accepted that it could be more effective on the Union because of the reduced depth and width.

A query from the Falkirk boater about risk assessments has been received.

No date has been set for the next meeting on user operation of the locks and bridges which may be complicated by the requirement to notify the emergency services when bridges are to be opened.

Access to Port Dundas is problematic due to possible issues with land/water rights and ownership.

ACTION – Chrissie and Robin to ensure that LCA weeding proposal and the risk assessment are raised at the next meeting.

4 Leafletting

All sites have been completed. Copies of the leaflet will be left at The Wheel and the Kelpies.

5 Flotilla of Lights

It was agreed that LCA should consider subsidising the fireworks and providing charcoal for the barbecue as well as help with providing lighting for the boats.

ACTION – Pierre to investigate the costs so the committee can confirm subsidies for the event.

ACTION – Pierre will send E-Mail to boaters nearer the time to encourage participation in the bonfire and flotilla.

6 Flotilla Debrief

A debriefing meeting for the flotilla was arranged but Ronnie Rusack was missed off the invite list. Robin attended and reported that there was disagreement over responsibility for failures in the organisation of boat movements and the entertainment. It was agreed that a much more detailed plan for boat movements and moorings must be drawn up for the next event and promulgated well in advance.

SC are proposing to organise an event over the same holiday weekend next year but are considering a rally rather than a flotilla. There was also a feeling that a flotilla terminating at the Wheel would be much easier to organise. Lessons from this year’s event would be taken on board.

A further meeting is planned for 11th September.

ACTION – Robin will attend the meeting and provide feedback.

7 Website

Bev’s Nautoroute is now on the website but still requires a few tweaks. Access to the members only section is restricted to only those who have paid their subscriptions, pending members do not have access but it is not clear whether members who do not renew their subscriptions are prevented from accessing the section. Some original members who joined without using the web link have not yet been given their passwords.

ACTION – Bev to provide Chrissie with a list of all paid up members so that she can provide passwords to all active members so they can access the site as well as blocking unpaid members.

ACTION – Chrissie to investigate how to ensure that lapsed members lose their access to members section.

Sean advised that the Glasgow boaters are trying to set up a course on boat maintenance and have arranged for a subsidy from the Canal Cooperative.

ACTION – Sean to investigate and provide information to the next meeting.

Chrissie advised that requests for any item to be put on the website should include “Put on Website” in the title so that she does not miss them. The notes of the previous meetings have not yet been put on the website.

ACTION – Don to forward meeting notes and the Petition response to Chrissie for putting on the website.

ACTION – Chrissie to update website.

ACTION – All, any item intended for the website should include “Put on Website” in the title

Pierre proposed that a section on Meet the Team giving info about committee members could be added to the website. Christine and Neil have completed their details.

ACTION – Other committee members to write a brief personal note for “Meet the Team” and send to Chrissie for placing on the website.

Pierre has received an E-Mail concerning boaters’ rights.

ACTION – Pierre to forward information on boaters’ rights to the committee for discussion at the next meeting.

8 Scottish Waterways for All Advisory Group

Don and Neil gave feedback on the recent meeting. The revised constitution was accepted and signed by all attendees. The 12 person interim management committee includes Ronnie Rusack as Chairman, Graeme Harvey as Treasurer and Pat Bowie as Vice Chairman with Richard Davies and Don as ordinary members.

They accept that LCA will continue to manage the Navigation and Safety meetings with SC and raise issues which may be of concern to other members of SWfA. The procedure proposed by RYAS to select their committee members to ensure that the committee is representative of all factions and does not become biased towards one particular group of interests is still up for discussion.

An action list of 50 items raised by the members, broken down into 9 headings, was distributed. The 3 items raised by LCA items were

User operation of locks and bridges. SC are proposing a meeting to take this forward. Locks 17 to 20, the new Garscube bridge and the bascule bridges in Glasgow appear to be probable but they are not optimistic about the rest.

Maintenance strategy to protect the assets and maintain navigation. SC contend that funding or rather lack of funding is still putting continued navigation at risk, particularly West of Glasgow..

Reopening of Port Dundas. This is also seen as a target by the IWA

There are fears that excessive use of volunteers is allowing SC to reduce their skilled operational staff, making maintenance more difficult and deskilling existing staff. Following a request from Richard Davies, SC agreed to provide details of the numbers of operational staff over the past few years

ACTION – Don to forward minutes and other documentation from the meeting to all committee members.

9. Petition for an Independent Ombudsman

Following recent submissions from SC, LCA submitted a final document. The date for the next meeting of the committee has not been confirmed but it is hoped that it will be shortly after the recess. A copy of the submission was forwarded to the committee.

ACTION – Chrissie to place the submission on the website.

10 Use of Social Networks

There was a brief discussion on the use of social networks to generate interest in the canals.

ACTION – Sean to investigate and report back.

11. Annual General Meeting

It was agreed that the AGM will be held in late November. Lock 16, Ratho and Bonnybridge were suggested locations.

A summary of the achievements of LCA should be included such as the Ombudsman Petition, weeding proposal, deferring construction of Garscube Bridge etc. Chrissie suggested that development of the website should be included on the agenda.

ACTION – The date, location and details of documentation to be provided for the meeting must be agreed at the next committee meeting.

12. Glasgow Canal Festival.

This year’s festival appeared to be a success, attracting a large audience. Sean and Ania took part, providing refreshments from their boat. It was agreed that Sean should be reimbursed for the provisions for the barbecue.

It was suggested that LCA might take a stall at next year’s festival to advertise our work on behalf of boaters. Robin suggested organising a rally at Port Dundas as part of the festival.

ACTION – Ania to forward contact details of the organiser, Christine to make contact to investigate options.

13. Boaters Survey

SC are proposing to send out a Satisfaction Survey to all Boaters but the concern is that they will hide any bad reviews to improve their score. It was suggested that boaters should be encouraged to copy their responses to LCA.

14. Additional Contacts

It was agreed that LCA should seek to make contact with boaters on the Crinan and Caledonian Canals. Robin advised that James Hale, the Corgi examiner based at Ardrishaig (07879 551508) and David Edes at Inverness would be suitable candidates.

ACTION – Christine to contact James and David to establish contact.

Date of next meeting set for 16th September 2019 at 6.30pm.  The premises are booked.

NOTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD AT UNION INN FALKIRK ON 15-07-2019

Attendees

Pierre Potel, Robin Fryer, Don Williams, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies were received from Christine Cameron, Chrissie Southgate and Bev Schofield.

1 Finance

The finances are in reasonable order but there are a significant number of unpaid subscriptions including some who have not yet renewed their membership and those who have never paid.

ACTION – Pierre is to write to all members reminding them that their fees are due and explaining the benefits of being members.

2 Storage for Residential Boaters

There was a discussion about provision of storage for residential boaters by Scottish Canals. It would appear that all new Living on Water boaters are provided with storage but the situation with existing boaters is mixed. Spiers Wharf – non provided, Applecross St – some provided, Auchinstary – at least 4 have no storage, Causeway End – ????, Ratho Marina – provided, Ratho Linear – non provided.

ACTION – Christine to raise a formal complaint to SC about their failure to provide storage facilities for all residential boaters.

3 Navigation and Safety Committee

Neil and Don gave feedback on the recent meeting with SC. The significant issues were:-

Causeway End, requirements for provision of disabled access might force SC to upgrade the footpath and lighting. Visitor mooring signs still not installed and issues with LUCS taking over the jetty are unresolved.

Weedcutting on the Union is very sporadic due to staff shortages but it is progressing on the Forth and Clyde. No progress on LCA proposal for providing fuel for boaters to use their boats to increase the turbidity of the water.

No date has been set for the next meeting on user operation of the locks and bridges which may be complicated by the requirement to notify the emergency services when bridges are to be opened.

Access to Port Dundas is problematic due to possible issues with land/water rights and ownership.

ACTION – Christine to write to SC to ask for an update on weeding issues.

4 Leafletting

The majority of sites have been completed.

ACTION – Don will visit the Kelpies and Linlithgow, Christine will organise the leaflets for Bowling boaters.

5 Flotilla of Lights

Pierre had a very positive meeting with the council who agreed to promote the event with advertising and encouraging participation by householders along the route.

ACTION – Pierre will send E-Mail to boaters nearer the time to encourage participation in the bonfire and flotilla.

6 Flotilla Debrief

A debriefing meeting for the flotilla has been arranged, issues to be raised include the poor organisation of boat movements around the wheel and along the route, poor catering, poor communication over access into the marquee. Sepi’s letter is a good starting point for the discussion.

ACTION – Robin will attend the meeting and provide feedback.

7 Website

Bev’s Nautoroute is now on the website but still requires a few tweaks. Access to the members only section should be restricted to only those who have paid their subscriptions. It appears that it is possible that some members who have not paid have been able to gain access and some older members have not been given their passwords.

Sean advised that a 2 day course on boat maintenance has been organised by the Glasgow boaters. This course is full but further courses could be arranged if there is a demand.

The notes of the previous meeting have not yet been put on the website.

Pierre proposed that a section on Meet the Team giving info about committee members could be added to the website.

ACTION – Bev to provide Chrissie with a list of all paid up members so that she can ensure that they can access the site and also block unpaid members.

ACTION – Chrissie to put meeting notes on the website.

ACTION – All members to write a brief personal note for “Meet the Team”.

8 Advisory Group

Don and Neil gave feedback on the last meeting of the proposed advisory group which is to be known as Scottish Waterways for All (SWfA). The constitution has been amended and some of our points have been taken on board. The precise relationship of the group to LCVG is still unclear and the separation of the finances has to be addressed. They accept that LCA will continue to manage the Navigation and Safety meetings with SC although the wording in the notes of the meeting could be ambiguous. The code of conduct is acceptable. It is proposed that the procedure used by RYAS to select their committee members will be incorporated into the constitution to ensure that the committee is representative of all factions and does not become biased towards one particular group of interests.

Following a discussion, it was agreed that LCA would participate in the group although it was recommended that it should be reviewed after six months rather than one year.

ACTION – Christine to write to Pat Bowie advising that LCA will participate in group but seek clarification of the relationship between SWfA and LCVG and stating that the Nav and Safety meeting will not be a sub-group of SWfA.

ACTION – Pierre to notify members that LCA will participate in the advisory group.

9 Use of Social Networks

There was a brief discussion on the use of social networks to generate interest in the canals.

ACTION – Sean to investigate and report back.

Date of next meeting set for 12th August 2019 at 6.30pm.  The premises are booked.

MINUTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD AT UNION INN FALKIRK ON 10-06-2019

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Robin Fryer, Chrissie Southgate, Don Williams, Bev Schofield and Neil Kitchener.

Apologies were received from Sean and Ania.

1 Finance

A number of individuals who have registered as members have not yet paid their subscriptions. Some members have signed up using Paypal which simplifies the payment process. The bank charges 88p for each subscription which can be reduced to 44p if the status of the association is changed.

Membership runs from April 5th each year. Fees for members joining mid year will be prorated for each quarter. Chrissie explained that this could be arranged by creating a discount code. Whilst this was agreed in principle, the term discount was not preferred. Existing members are expected to pay the full fee on renewal each year.

ACTION – Bev to visit Christine to phone bank and change the status.

ACTION – Chrissie to review discount process

2 May Flotilla

Following the recent flotilla, Sepi forwarded a copy of a letter she had written to Catherine Topley commenting on aspects of the organisation on the day hoping that it could be given a wider distribution. It was agreed that a copy would be forwarded to all members but that it would not be put on the website.

ACTION – Robin to talk to Sepi for permission to forward letter to members and the Boaters Group.

ACTION – If agreed, Pierre to forward E-Mail.

3 Flotilla of Lights

Pierre proposed organising a bonfire at Almond Aqueduct on Friday 22nd November with the flotilla setting off on Saturday afternoon to arrive in Edinburgh around teatime. It was agreed that LCA would be responsible for the arrangements. There is a meeting in Edinburgh to discuss possible funding and advertising of the event on 19th June.

ACTION – Pierre organise bonfire and flotilla.

4 LCA Festival 2020

Robin is to looking at options for organising a festival in Spiers Wharf or Port Dundas next year. Christine suggested a number of themes for the festival

ACTION – Christine to forward E-Mail from Richard Davies regarding festival to Robin.

ACTION – Robin to investigate possibility of funding from SC and other organisations.

5 Membership

A discussion about non-paying members accessing the website took place. It was agreed that a section would be added and the first item would be Bev’s Nautical Route Finder.

ACTION – Chrissie and Don to explore the options and update the website.

6 LCA Website Situation

There have been issues with certain members not receiving E-Mails sent from LCA Info which uses the LCN website. However, they went okay from Don’s personal E-Mail. Changing from LCN for E-Mails was discussed but rejected because it is not possible to separate E-Mails from the website. Adverts have started appearing in the LCA inbox, it was suggested that a spam filter would prevent this.

It was agreed that a chat room could be set up provided LCA took responsibility for harmful posts and wrote to indemnify Mainplus. Don offered to act as moderator for the chat room and it would be better if all posts were moderated before they were posted.

Pierre proposed that a section on Meet the Team giving info about committee members could be added to the website.

ACTION -Chrissie to investigate why E-Mails from LCN were rejected and the options for a spam filter.

ACTION – Chrissie to review options for setting up chat room.

ACTION – Christine to write a letter to Mainplus accepting responsibility for any posts on the website.

ACTION – All members to write a brief personal note for “Meet the Team”.

7 Advisory Group

The committee discussed the advisory /task force proposal. The majority are in favour of the idea. Christine and Don attended two meeting of the planning committee meetings but were not invited to a third meeting on 1st May so it is unclear whether the advisory group has actually been formally constituted.

ACTION – Neil to contact Richard Millar to determine SC’s view of the current status of the organisation.

ACTION – Christine to forward LCA comments on the proposed constitution of the group to Catherine Topley.

8 Petition

SC were grilled at latest sitting of the Petitions Committee and members were sent links to witness the proceedings and view the written submissions. Graeme Harvey made a late submission to the committee which was critical of LCA. A link to the article on the government website will be sent to members.

It would appear that SC are hoping that the Committee will agree that the Advisory Group will obviate the need for an independent ombudsman It will have no powers to hold SC to account so LCA should continue to resist this option. The committee are still looking for more information before announcing their decision, LCA plan to make another submission to summarise their views.

ACTION – Don to forward link to Graeme Harvey’s submission to Chrissie for distribution.

ACTION – Christine to prepare submission and send to the Petitions Committee.

9 Weeding Proposal

Robin’s report on weeding was sent to the boaters and put on the website. Feedback will be requested from SC at the end of the year to determine how much of the £1000 was expended along with a review of the effectiveness of the scheme.

10 Safety and Navigation Committee

Christine met with Paula Carson who confirmed that the dates for the meetings over the coming year have been set as the first Monday of every second month. It was agreed that it would be preferable for two members to attend each meeting and Robin agreed to join Chrissie. A substitute would be found if either Chrissie or Robin could not attend. Chrissie is okay with most of the dates but cannot make the meetings on 1st July or 4th November. Neil will attend the first meeting and Robin the second using the latest Action Tracker prepared by Chrissie and will feedback at the following meeting.

ACTION – Chrissie to add weeding to the Action Tracker and forward a copy to Neil in advance of the meeting.

ACTION – Chrissie to ensure the issues at Causeway End are on the Action Tracker

11 Leaflets

Leaflets have been distributed at Auchinstarry, Kirkintilloch and Edinburgh.

ACTION Robin to distribute around Causeway End, Linlithgow and the Kelpies. Pierre to do Ratho. Christine to do Cadder. Sean to do Glasgow, Liz Jones will do Bowling.

ACTION – Feedback from all at next meeting.

12 Nautical Route Finder

Bev showed the spreadsheet version of her Nautical Route Finder which enables boaters to calculate journey times along the canals which should prove very useful. The committee agreed that the programme should be developed and put on the website for use by paid up members only.

ACTION – Chrissie to work with Bev to investigate ways of improving the presentation and resolving any software development with Mainplus.

13 Hazard Reporting App

Neil raised the issue of a hazard reporting app which was available about three years ago produced by Mike Kelly and funded by SC but which does not seem to be used at present. Pierre commented that it had more facilities than just hazard reporting.

ACTION – Neil to contact Mike Kelly and Richard Millar to see whether the App is still live and report back to the next meeting

14 Waterways Exchange

It was agreed that the option to develop a service for canal users to exchange or sell articles along the lines of Gumtree would be put on hold for a period.

ACTION – Chrissy to investigate further.

15 Boaters Group  

Following a long discussion, it was agreed that the proposal to shut down the Boaters Group should be deferred since it is a useful tool for making contact with boaters who are not members of LCA.

16 News Items

Bev advised that she had produced an anthology of stories, Words Work Well, as part of her creative writing project on Peccadillo. One of the stories is about water. It was agreed that Bev should write a note which would appear as a news item on the website.

V Griffiths, CEO of the Ramblers, has had a meeting with R Parry, CEO of CRT to explore possible partnership opportunities between the two organisations.

ACTION – Bev to write note for Chrissie to put on website.

Date of next meeting set for 15th July 2019 at 6.30pm.  The premises are booked.

MINUTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD AT UNION INN FALKIRK ON 13-05-2019

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Robin Fryer, Chrissie Southgate, Don Williams and Bev Schofield. Apologies were received from Sean, Ania and Neil.

1 Flotilla

Robin confirmed that 38 boats, 12 steamboats, 6 VIP boats and inland rowers have booked in for the event. There are still last minute arrangements to be finalised. There is also a small informal flotilla of boats on Sunday going from Kirkintilloch to Spiers Wharf. Robin requested money for soup and bacon butties for the Sunday flotilla and the committee authorised up to £50 for food and requested receipts. LCA have organised this informal and fun event, in addition to arranging the transit of boats for the main flotilla

ACTION – Robin to coordinate Sunday event, along with Ania and Sean.

2 Causeway End

This item was raised at last month’s meeting and Robin e-mailed both Scott and Mark Smith and is still awaiting a response

ACTION – Robin to pursue and update committee at next meeting.

3 Weeding Proposal

Following the submission by LCA to SC, Robin attended a meeting with Richard Millar. At the meeting, LCA asked for a pilot scheme with a review at the end of the project/trial. Richard Millar agreed with the proposal and advised that SC were making £1000 available for the project, specifically to pay for diesel. The SC plan is to identify a stretch of water with SC using their weed cutting team and boaters will be asked to use their boats to churn up the water.

LCA requested a map of the canal on which SC could mark up their anticipated areas for dredging and weeding but SC declined. There is a map in the Skippers’ Guide but it would be helpful if members could be notified in advance where and when activities were to take place

ACTION – The committee need to liaise with SC  to follow up the proposal and ensure that boaters are available to carry out the operation throughout the trial period. LCA will update members about the success or otherwise at the end of the pilot scheme.

ACTION – Robin’s report on weeding should be sent to the boaters and put on the website.

4 Lowland Canal Forum

At the forum, there was a discussion re Catherine Topley’s position with people being asked to write to their MSPs to extend her secondment or ensure that a suitable replacement is found.

LCA received praise for producing the directory and other issues raised were security at the Kelpies. We await the minutes for additional information.

5 Feedback From KCA

The minutes from the last meeting were circulated yesterday but have not been studied in detail. However, Christine reported on her input. A discussion took place about a festival at Spiers Wharf proposed by R Davies. LCA stated that the Flotilla would take priority this year. However, serious consideration would be given to arranging a Glasgow based event next year. The second item raised was the new task /advisory group. Christine stated that in theory LCA is in favour of the scheme but there are issues that need resolving before implementation. Christine sent KCA committee members copies of the constitution and a schedule of LCA areas of concern which need resolving.

6 LCA Festival 2020

The committee agreed to look at options for organising a festival in Spiers Wharf next year. There was overall support for the idea and it will be raised at following meetings.

7 Advisory Group

The committee discussed the advisory /task force proposal. The majority are in favour of the idea but not as it is currently constituted. The position taken is that the task/advisory group should be independent of the LCVG. SC have suggested giving a large sum of money to get the project started.

It was also stated by Bev and others that we should still pursue the request for a water ombudsman. This would be specifically because whereas the new group would deal with raised issues they were not able to deal with individual boaters and their individual issues

8 Falkirk Car Parking List

Chrissy reported that she needs names and car numbers as soon as possible as she has been given very short notice by SC. She is also finding SC very slow in arranging the next Nav and Sat meeting.

ACTION – Chrissie to pursue and report back at next meeting.

9 Directory

Thishas been one of the most successful and useful tools for boaters and other users. Word is getting out and Don reported that there have been 3 additional suggestions for inclusion. Don agreed to monitor the directory and make adjustments as and when required. The committee gave a vote of thanks to Don for all his hard work.

10 Banner and Leaflet

The 4 banners were collected and handed out to Sean, Pierre, Robin and Neil to be displayed on their boats during the flotilla. The bill was submitted to Bev.

The leaflet was also discussed and it was agreed that it was a very eye-catching and quality piece of work by Bev. It is an outstanding leaflet with the pictures reflecting the different aspects and interests on the canal. However, it was decided that it needed a few amendments so that it could be non-time specific, that way it would have a longer shelf life. The quote from Minuteman was too high and Chrissy found a cheaper quote for £60 which she will send to Bev. It was agreed by the committee that we would order a thousand copies.

ACTION – Bev to make changes and Don to quality control the leaflet before Bev orders them.

11 Membership

There was a long discussion about membership and it was agreed that a reminder would be sent out. after the Flotilla. Hopefully, the leaflet should increase the membership. During the discussion it was agreed that there should be a change in the present system. At present, non-members can access the website and read all the information. It was agreed that certain information would only be available to fully paid up members.

ACTION – Chrissy agreed to look at it and Don would also input.

12 Route Finder

The committee agreed with Bev’s suggestion that a navigational route finder with times and details would be a good tool to progress. It would be done as a flat matrix and would only be available for members.

ACTION – Bev agreed to formulate the matrix.

13 Waterways Exchange

Chrissy noted that with the recent update of the website, the committee can move on to offering a service for canal users to exchange or sell articles along the lines of Gumtree.

ACTION – Chrissy to investigate further. Committee asked to look at brainstorming ideas for water gumtree and festival

14 LCA Website Situation

A lengthy discussion was held on utilising the website to its full potential. Bev had concerns about alienating non-digitally engaged members by asking them to register and create a password.

Chrisy pointed out that by not using registration process we are not using the website development for which LCA has already paid. A compromise was reached and agreed, giving members the option to continue using the original channels to join, plus Chrisy will make the registration page live on the website. So original members can now pay their membership fees as they have done in the past and new members wishing to join can either use the original joining instructions which are on the LCA website or the new registration page on the LCA website to join and pay their membership fees. When using the registration page to join, there will be an option to pay fees by Paypal, credit card or debit card. The Treasurer was pleased that this option was included.

Pierre and Bev queried this automatic enrolment through the registration page as in the past members were vetted to prevent LCA from unwanted infiltration. Robin stated the case that everything we do should be transparent anyway and that this added tool for joining gives an added opportunity to increase our membership. Pierre and Bev acquiesced with a mention that our constitution gives us the option to cancel a membership if we suspect any ill intention.

Bev was also concerned that auto enrolment may be too high tech for the membership that we have at present and would create more admin, but Chrisy clarified that this would not be the case and a report on membership can be taken from the website database if required.

Bev also requested that the bank details be removed from the LCA website to prevent identity theft or hacking. It was agreed to remove these details and have a sentence on that page which would say anyone wishing to pay by transfer can email LCA, and the joining details including bank details will be sent to them.

As part of the complete package of upgrades to the website, this will include a restricted page for paid up members only. Details of what will be added to this page will be sent to paid up members in due course. As this page will require a password to enter it, initially the only members with passwords will be those who join using the new website registration page. However, original members who have not joined through this registration route will have their details manually transferred over to the website database. These members will then be sent an email with a change me password. They will then be able to set their own password and have access to the restricted page.

The chair wished to thank the committee for all the hard work undertaken in the last few months. We all have a variety of different skills and experience and work well and efficiently together as a team

Take lots of pictures of boats during the flotilla for our Facebook page. The banner would give us free advertisement and let’s hope for sunshine.

Date of next meeting set for 10th June 2019 at 6.30pm. The time was changed from 6.00pm to 6.30pm to accommodate people who are working and the premises are booked.

MINUTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD AT UNION INN FALKIRK ON 13-05-2019

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Robin Fryer, Chrisy Southgate, Don Williams and Bev Schofield. Apologies were received from Sean, Ania and Neil.

1. Flotilla

Robin confirmed that 38 boats, 12 steamboats, 6 VIP boats and inland rowers have booked in for the event. There are still last minute arrangements to be finalised. There is also a small informal flotilla of boats on Sunday going from Kirkintilloch to Spiers Wharf. Robin requested money for soup and bacon butties for the Sunday flotilla and the committee authorised up to £50 for food and requested receipts. LCA have organised this informal and fun event, in addition to arranging the transit of boats for the main flotilla

ACTION – Robin to coordinate Sunday event, along with Ania and Sean.

2. Causeway End

This item was raised at last month’s meeting and Robin e-mailed both Scott and Mark Smith and is still awaiting a response

ACTION – Robin to pursue and update committee at next meeting.

3. Weeding Proposal

Following the submission by LCA to SC, Robin attended a meeting with Richard Millar. At the meeting, LCA asked for a pilot scheme with a review at the end of the project/trial. Richard Millar agreed with the proposal and advised that SC were making £1000 available for the project, specifically to pay for diesel. The SC plan is to identify a stretch of water with SC using their weed cutting team and boaters will be asked to use their boats to churn up the water.

LCA requested a map of the canal on which SC could mark up their anticipated areas for dredging and weeding but SC declined. There is a map in the Skippers’ Guide but it would be helpful if members could be notified in advance where and when activities were to take place

ACTION – The committee need to liaise with SC  to follow up the proposal and ensure that boaters are available to carry out the operation throughout the trial period. LCA will update members about the success or otherwise at the end of the pilot scheme.

ACTION – Robin’s report on weeding should be sent to the boaters and put on the website.

4. Lowland Canal Forum

At the forum, there was a discussion re Catherine Topley’s position with people being asked to write to their MSPs to extend her secondment or ensure that a suitable replacement is found.

LCA received praise for producing the directory and other issues raised were security at the Kelpies. We await the minutes for additional information.

5. Feedback From KCA

The minutes from the last meeting were circulated yesterday but have not been studied in detail. However, Christine reported on her input. A discussion took place about a festival at Spiers Wharf proposed by R Davies. LCA stated that the Flotilla would take priority this year. However, serious consideration would be given to arranging a Glasgow based event next year. The second item raised was the new task /advisory group. Christine stated that in theory LCA is in favour of the scheme but there are issues that need resolving before implementation. Christine sent KCA committee members copies of the constitution and a schedule of LCA areas of concern which need resolving.

6. LCA Festival 2020

The committee agreed to look at options for organising a festival in Spiers Wharf next year. There was overall support for the idea and it will be raised at following meetings.

7. Advisory Group

The committee discussed the advisory /task force proposal. The majority are in favour of the idea but not as it is currently constituted. The position taken is that the task/advisory group should be independent of the LCVG. SC have suggested giving a large sum of money to get the project started.

It was also stated by Bev and others that we should still pursue the request for a water ombudsman. This would be specifically because whereas the new group would deal with raised issues they were not able to deal with individual boaters and their individual issues

8. Falkirk Car Parking List

Chrisy reported that she needs names and car numbers as soon as possible as she has been given very short notice by SC. She is also finding SC very slow in arranging the next Nav and Sat meeting.

ACTION – Chrisy to pursue and report back at next meeting.

9. Directory

This has been one of the most successful and useful tools for boaters and other users. Word is getting out and Don reported that there have been 3 additional suggestions for inclusion. Don agreed to monitor the directory and make adjustments as and when required. The committee gave a vote of thanks to Don for all his hard work.

10. Banner and Leaflet

The 4 banners were collected and handed out to Sean, Pierre, Robin and Neil to be displayed on their boats during the flotilla. The bill was submitted to Bev.

The leaflet was also discussed and it was agreed that it was a very eye-catching and quality piece of work by Bev. It is an outstanding leaflet with the pictures reflecting the different aspects and interests on the canal. However, it was decided that it needed a few amendments so that it could be non-time specific, that way it would have a longer shelf life. The quote from Minuteman was too high and Chrisy found a cheaper quote for £60 which she will send to Bev. It was agreed by the committee that we would order a thousand copies.

ACTION – Bev to make changes and Don to quality control the leaflet before Bev orders them.

11. Membership

There was a long discussion about membership and it was agreed that a reminder would be sent out. after the Flotilla. Hopefully, the leaflet should increase the membership. During the discussion it was agreed that there should be a change in the present system. At present, non-members can access the website and read all the information. It was agreed that certain information would only be available to fully paid up members.

ACTION – Chrissy agreed to look at it and Don would also input.

12. Route Finder

The committee agreed with Bev’s suggestion that a navigational route finder with times and details would be a good tool to progress. It would be done as a flat matrix and would only be available for members.

ACTION – Bev agreed to formulate the matrix.

13. Waterways Exchange

Chrisy noted that with the recent update of the website, the committee can move on to offering a service for canal users to exchange or sell articles along the lines of Gumtree.

ACTION – Chrisy to investigate further. Committee asked to look at brainstorming ideas for water gumtree and festival

14. LCA Website Situation

A lengthy discussion was held on utilising the website to its full potential. Bev had concerns about alienating non-digitally engaged members by asking them to register and create a password.

Chrisy pointed out that by not using registration process we are not using the website development for which LCA has already paid. A compromise was reached and agreed, giving members the option to continue using the original channels to join, plus Chrisy will make the registration page live on the website. So original members can now pay their membership fees as they have done in the past and new members wishing to join can either use the original joining instructions which are on the LCA website or the new registration page on the LCA website to join and pay their membership fees. When using the registration page to join, there will be an option to pay fees by Paypal, credit card or debit card. The Treasurer was pleased that this option was included.

Pierre and Bev queried this automatic enrolment through the registration page as in the past members were vetted to prevent LCA from unwanted infiltration. Robin stated the case that everything we do should be transparent anyway and that this added tool for joining gives an added opportunity to increase our membership. Pierre and Bev acquiesced with a mention that our constitution gives us the option to cancel a membership if we suspect any ill intention.

Bev was also concerned that auto enrolment may be too high tech for the membership that we have at present and would create more admin, but Chrisy clarified that this would not be the case and a report on membership can be taken from the website database if required.

Bev also requested that the bank details be removed from the LCA website to prevent identity theft or hacking. It was agreed to remove these details and have a sentence on that page which would say anyone wishing to pay by transfer can email LCA, and the joining details including bank details will be sent to them.

As part of the complete package of upgrades to the website, this will include a restricted page for paid up members only. Details of what will be added to this page will be sent to paid up members in due course. As this page will require a password to enter it, initially the only members with passwords will be those who join using the new website registration page. However, original members who have not joined through this registration route will have their details manually transferred over to the website database. These members will then be sent an email with a change me password. They will then be able to set their own password and have access to the restricted page.

The chair wished to thank the committee for all the hard work undertaken in the last few months. We all have a variety of different skills and experience and work well and efficiently together as a team

Take lots of pictures of boats during the flotilla for our Facebook page. The banner would give us free advertisement and let’s hope for sunshine.

Date of next meeting set for 10th June 2019 at 6.30pm. The time was changed from 6.00pm to 6.30pm to accommodate people who are working and the premises are booked.

Minutes of Meeting Held at Union Inn Falkirk on 8-04-19

Attendees

Christine Cameron, Pierre Potel, Don Williams, Chrisy Southgate, Robin Fryer, Bev Schofield, Sean McNamara, Ania Neisser, Neil Kitchener.

1 Membership and Budget Update.

Bev confirmed that £300 has been received from SC and the account now stands at £654.

The committee authorised payment of £190 to the treasurer for expenses incurred for hosting and computer updates subject to submission of receipts.

Membership stands at 76, with 3 recent new members. In future, subscriptions will be due on 1st April each year. For those joining mid-year, the payment will be based on a quarterly prorata.

Options for paying subscriptions will remain the same until Bev and Chrissy are able to set up a PayPal account for collection of subscription. Bev agreed to send out reminders to members who had not paid this year but no retrospective charges will be levied.

ACTION Bev to set up PayPal account and chase up members to pay their subscriptions.

2 Navigation and Safety feedback. 

Feedback about the discussion on user operation of locks and bridges was passed to Chrissy.

She presented her Q and A paper which can be seen on the website. The unexpected construction of the new landing stage at Causeway End is welcomed but despite appearing on the Nav & Safety Tracker for over a year, no progress has been made on the vital improvements to the basin footpath and lighting as well as access for the disabled. These will be raised at the next Q and A meeting with SC on the 14th April which will also be attended by Catherine Topley

Concern was expressed about how the locations for the emergency moorings were to be marked. They should be included on the Skippers Guide.

ACTION Robin to confirm outstanding Causeway End details for Chrissie to raise at the meeting.

ACTION Chrissie to raise the issues and feedback at next meeting.

3 Directory

A vote of thanks was given to Don for the work undertaken. The directory will be sent to Neil for quality control this week, after that it will be put on the website and distributed to the members in the first instance. After that it will be sent to the Boaters Group. Catherine Topley and Scot McMurray will be given the link to the web site directory. The directory is a living piece of work which can be added to or taken away depending on the circumstances.

ACTION Quality control by Neil and distribution by Don and Pierre.

4 Weeding proposal.

Catherine Topley asking for volunteers to meet environmental staff. Sean and Robin agreed.

ACTION Chair to contact CT

5 Proposal for Small Flotilla at Spiers Wharf.

Sean explained the issues with respect to Richard Davies’ proposal. After discussion, it was agreed that there would not be time this year with the input to the large flotilla but it would be given serious consideration next year.

ACTION Chair to notify RD about decision.

6 LCA Leaflet.

The draft will be circulated next week for comments and input. The plan is to have the leaflet ready to hand out at the flotilla in May.

It was agreed that details for membership should be added to the leaflet.

ACTION Christine to progress this 

7 Advisory Group.

A full and frank discussion aired everyone’s opinion. The conclusion was that we would attend the next meeting to continue raising the issue of constitution and code of conduct. The decision whether to be involved or not would depend on the results of Wednesday’s meeting. Whatever the decision about joining the advisory group, it will be important to maintain communication between SC and LCA so that we can represent the interests of boaters and maintain the good work of the Nav and Safety committee.

ACTION Don and Christine to follow up and feedback at the next meeting.

8 Pricing Review.

Concerns were raised about the rates being charged for the new moorings in Edinburgh.

ACTION information to be gathered

9 Computer Issues.

After discussion, Pierre agreed to be data controller.

10 Lowland Canals Volunteer Group.

There is confusion as previous LCA chair was involved in the LCVG. Christine was very articulate that she only represents LCA.

ACTION Christine to E-Mail KCA to clarify position.

11 Flotilla.

Robin fedback that the transit organisation is going well with no immediate problems. Pierre is unable to attend daytime meetings due to pressure of work. Christine agreed to substitute for him in relation to the flotillas.

ACTION Robin will feed back at next meeting.

12 Water Ombudsman.

The article in the Waterway World in January 2019 describes the role of the Water Ombudsman in England and illustrates the need for an independent ombudsman to safeguard boaters’ interests. The report showed a total of 252 complaints received and dealt with. The annual report can be accessed through the magazine and gives further details and advice. There is a need for resolution of issues and the same format would benefit boaters on the Scottish Canals who have no independent water ombudsman

13 John McKay Funeral

 It was agreed that a condolence card would be sent on behalf of the LCA

ACTION Chair to send card.

14 Volunteering.

Discussion took place with an acknowledgement of the number of hours that the committee spend.

15 Action Tracker.

Chrissie demonstrated an action tracker which could be used to assist with communications within the committee. It was agreed that the current system of E-Mails etc would be retained but that actions would be added to minutes of meetings.

16 New Bridge at Stockinfield Junction

A concern was raised re the proposal for the new bridge. Details were put on Social Media but there has been no consultation with boaters. Consultation is seen as the key to improved communication between SC and the other organisations operating on the canal.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING Set for 6pm on 13th May in Union Inn Falkirk.

Members are invited to raise issues with the committee using the website or direct communication to any committee member.

MINUTES OF LCA COMMITTEE MEETING – 4.3.2019

1 Apologies and minutes approved.

2 Financial Update

Bev was unable to attend meeting  due to ill health so there was no update, However the committee agreed that the donation from SC would be used for updating the website and upgrading the membership. Chrisy agreed to do that and feed back to the committee at the next meeting when the picture would be clearer. Christine or Bev to contact SC with a letter of thanks. If and when the money is received.

3 Safety and Navigation

Chrisy notified the committee about their meetings  and the detailed updates are to be found on the website, Chrisy  to meet Catherine Topley and will feed back.

4 Directory of services

This is a substantial piece of work and is 50% completed. Boaters are asked to send any information to the secretary who will liase with Don. This is a joint piece of work being undertaken with Scott at SC  It was suggested that the directory will carry a disclaimer  and is for information only.

5 Meeting with Transport Secretary

Don attended the KCA meeting with the transport minister’s staff. He fed back to the group and noted that there were pieces of information missing from the minutes. Christine as chair will send an e mail asking for an amendment to Pat .

6  Event

A letter from R.D. about an event on July 20th in Spiers Warf will be actioned by Sean and Ania who will feedback.

7 Flotilla Update

Pierre and Robin will send an e mail with a summary of their work to date. They are working in association with KCA and SC to facilitate canal boat movements on that weekend.

8 Firhill bridge

The committee were delighted at the postponement of the bridge till a later date. There was a discussion about the engineering aspects of the bridge and confusion over dates.

9 Website

The committee agreed to pay to update the website. Pierre and Don to check E-Mails and action any enquiries.

10 Advisory Committee

The committee discussed in depth the invitation to become part of Jose Saunders proposed advisory group, there was also consultation with some of the members . There was a unanimous decision that while the LCA was part of the KCA, we did not want to be part of the proposed advisory group. The main reasons given were that there is no need for the body as communication with SC is already in place and working well  The LCA are using the user group meetings  to raise issues with SC. The LCA states that the Water Ombudsman or similar body would be the best way forward. It was unanimously agreed that a body is required that can deal with differences of opinions and disputes. It was agreed to circulate the article in Waterway World Jan 2019. Entitled  “Waterways Ombudsman  issues annual report”.It was acknowledged that  the LCA will continue to attend the KCA meetings as they are involved in the organizing of transport of boats.The committee did not rule out being involved in a body which was more independent and would look at proposals with a different constitution.

11 The committee noted that there is a degree of confusion about roles, rights and responsibilities for canal users. Christine agreed to send out an e-mail to new and any ancient mariners summarizing LCA’s position. We have a constitution, code of conduct, paying members and are a grass roots led organization.

12  A representative from the Glasgow branch invited on to the committee. A suggestion was made that the lowland canals would be asked for a representative from each basin to feed back issues to LCA .  The option to remain anonymous was made as some people might not want to be named but would  want to make a contribution.

13 Weeding article to be distributed for discussion

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

8 th April  at 6 pm at Lock 16, Falkirk.