You could not make this up.
According to the BCU Chairman, "there is some frustration amongst a small proportion of Canoe England members over the speed of progress on this issue (access)".
Sooooo, given that statement I would presume that the vast majority of CE members must only be interested in competition, on courses where there is access agreed for the dates that they wish to compete*. Pretty much every recreational paddler I know thinks that improving access is very important, and that the only time we have seen a noticable improvement in access is when the Dee agreement was withdrawn / rejected and paddlers decided to just paddle.
Oh, and as Chairman of the BCU, he could not comment on CE because that is outside of his remit. WTF ??????????? Surely, as Chairman, he is in a postion to oversee it all?
* Actually, from looking at the posts on the Canoe Slalom rant and rave boards he might be right! Given what is being posted in response to the suggestion of a campaign at the selection event, it is almost as if these people have never heard of the problems with access and the actions taken over the past 10 years of the RAC! All the alternative ideas being posted so as to avoid campaigning at the most high profile paddlesport event of the decade have already been tried, but the language being used suggests that the proposers were not aware of any of the previous actions being taken.
Taken from a post - I am unlikely to paddle much outside Bala, HPP, Matlock, Tully, Washburn, Stone, etc but, If it is important to address the issue of river access, then it does need to be coordinated or else any "campaign" will be as effective as a Div 4 paddler racing on the olympic course at Lee Valley
For completeness, below is what our Chairman wrote (UKRGB article is "Open letter to SCA President)
"by Brian Chapman » Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:24 pmmorsey wrote:Morsey,morsey wrote:Brian BCU refuses to answer questions on access, why is that?
The simple answer to your question (although I know you won't like it) is that it is not part of my role as BCU Chair to deal with access in England.
Now, to explain that against the howls of derision that I can already hear building.
The BCU acts to coordinate a very wide range of activities across the entire United Kingdom, and much of that goes without comment because it works well and so there is no sport in talking about it on forums like this.
Regarding access, there is an agreed BCU board position, which was developed over a year ago and has been published which is that the BCU aspires to a position where there is a clearly stated right of access for canoeists throughout the United Kingdom to any waterway which can be navigated responsibly, taking into account environmental considerations. However as the legal frameworks applicable in the 4 home nations are different then responsibility for securing that access in the best possible way rests with the national associations individually.
In Scotland there has been a presumed right of access to all waterways for a very long time. There were some legal challenges by a small number of landowners, which were ultimately inconclusive or unsuccessful and a small number of landowners who made life so difficult that we went elsewhere. So we enjoyed a reasonably free range of access. When the Scottish Parliament was established and they stated their intention to bring in the Land Reform Act then the SCA worked very hard, through employed and volunteer resources, to work with the legislators in a very small time window to get water included in the act and then to ensure that it remained there through the full legal process. Those efforts were ultimately successful, but it was by no means certain that they would be right up to the final vote. What is important is that it was the SCA working within Scotland to deal with the Scottish Parliament on a piece of legislation that was affecting Scotland. We had no expectation that Wales, Northern Ireland or England would do any of this on our behalf. Although we appreciated their support it was a job that had to be done locally.
We have recently seen Canoe Wales seeking to establish a similar right enshrined in legislation through the Welsh Assembly and Government. Although as yet they have not been successful I do hope that they will be able to achieve this when the opportunity presents itself, but it is something that can only be monitored and driven from Wales where the legislative power rests. The impact of any such success would also most likely be limited to water in Wales. The BCU board supports Canoe Wales' aspirations but is not directly involved in this work.
The situation in England is that this responsibility rests with the English Council and with Canoe England staff. Although the legal structure is more complex as Canoe England is an operating division of the BCU rather than being a separate legal entity, the reality of the split of responsibilities is the same. BCU Board members from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland cannot be expected to know the details of the legal situation in England (although you would be surprised how much they do know) or to interact on a day to day basis with the powers who ultimately need to be pursuaded to create an act which confirms unambiguously the legal right to take responsible access as now exists in Scotland. Canoe England needs to do this on behalf of English members, and from my perspective they are working very hard at it.
I know that there is some frustration amongst a small proportion of Canoe England members over the speed of progress on this issue, and I also know that this frustration is shared by those within Canoe England who are working to achieve progress. However, the lesson learned in Scotland is that whilst the delivery of the legislation was achieved over a period of about 2 years, the initiation of the legislation took nearly 300 years. I hope that this initiation will be quicker in England, but with the current priorities in Westminster it would be difficult to argue that a legally enshrined right of access for canoeists is more important than much of the other business being progressed there. In the meantime, the vast majority of Canoe England members do manage to go canoeing where / when they want to through licensing or accepted access on a wide variety of waterways. I know this doesn't help those who want to go on the more contentious waters, but there does seem to be a large number of paddlers who manage to do that as well with little fuss.
To pre-empt any further discussion, I will not enter into any dialogue about operational matters in England for which Canoe England staff and volunteer officers are responsible. This simply falls outwith my remitt.
Does that help you to understand my position?