From Ken Hylins

I attended the Regional Forum on November 19th, where the Regional Manager put forward his aims and projections for the coming year. He has been heavily involved in the Toddbrook  Reservoir issue, using up much of his time, and he reiterated that the repair would not come out of CRT’s budget. The concern will be the loss of its water to the respective canals if we have low rainfall next year. Then there followed a presentation of all the sub-area managers’ aims and responsibilities, stating with vigour their staff numbers and the skills at their disposal. However, my concerns are that there is a small number of staff per area of responsibility; staff are complaining that they are run ragged and any compound issue that I see would be a problem. The one thing that was apparent was that the manager wanted issues to be related to customer services so that, once raised, they could be dealt with.

There was mention of canalside vegetation regarding offside and towpath maintenance. This was a tricky subject as there were many points raised by the canal societies. There was also a presentation of future areas of work, which can be obtained from the CRT website. The recurring theme was that to get things done in the North West, report it, and if it does not get any attention, follow it up until the matter is attended to or acknowledged. I feel we have the necessary channels to raise our membership concerns within the North West region.

From Mike Rodd

I met Jon Horsfall, the interim CRT Director in Wales & South West, on 2nd October in Gloucester. Jon was appointed to take over from Richard Thomas, who left suddenly in July. The meeting proved to be a most useful, frank exchange of views and resulted in an agreement to continue to meet on a regular basis. This is especially important as Jon develops suggestions on how best to bring the various boater organisations back closer to CRT. It was also agreed that I would take Jon on my boat on the Mon & Brec and also on the K&A Canal Trust’s trip boat, The Rose of Hungerford.  

Sadly, though, the Mon & Brec’s Boaters Liaison meeting scheduled for 6th November was cancelled, largely due to the retirement of Kevin Phillips, CRT’s most valued Customer Operations Supervisor for Wales & South West. This was deeply regretted by those involved on the Mon & Brec, as it was felt that these meetings were the best working example ever of how CRT can work with its users.

Mark Evans has been appointed as Director for Wales & South West, taking up the role in January 2020. Mark is currently head of Waterside Moorings, CRT’s directly managed moorings business and interim head of museums at Gloucester and Ellesmere Port. He joined CRT over four years ago as waterway manager for the K&A.