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Thread: Only small proportion frustrated - BCU Chairman

  1. #1

    Unhappy Only small proportion frustrated - BCU Chairman

    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is very important, and that the only time we have seen a noticable improvement in access is when the Dee agreement was withdrawn / rejected and paddlers decided to just paddle.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?

    Mike

    * 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 pm
    morsey wrote:
    morsey wrote:Brian BCU refuses to answer questions on access, why is that?
    Morsey,

    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?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike A View Post
    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
    Brian Chapman doesn't dismiss the frustration of paddlers and notes this "frustration is shared by those within Canoe England who are working to achieve progress". He's clearly stating his organisation's view that when legislative priorities allow, we'd like "a legally enshrined right of access for canoeists" and noting that:

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chapman
    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.
    It's important, to my mind, to acknowledge the truth of these two statements. Let's not get hung up on competition: most RECREATIONAL paddlers have a wide range of paddling options that are on waterways where access is accepted. I'm sure the overwhelming majority of week-in, week out social paddling paddling (whether at clubs or informally) falls into this category... and in reality, the UK abounds with great places to paddle without great fuss (including a huge proportion of inland waterways, but also extensive coastal waters).

    None of that takes away from the very real problem faced by a small cadre of dedicated white water enthusiasts: a small proportion of the "recreational" canoeists, and a group which (as I understand it) faces far bigger problems in Wales than in most of England (the issue certainly appears bigger in Wales than in the NE England region: not so sure re. NW/SW). Neither is that dismissing the issue of localised hotspots on lowland rivers where the prospect of significant fuss is a serious deterrent to anyone wishing to claim (as per Caffyn) an entitlement to paddle.

    As for the distinction between BCU and CE: that's surely fair enough - the legal separation of the two might not be sorted, but the de-facto arrangement is clear.. and I'm certainly clear in my mind that the right channel for tackling Access is the English Council and CE staff / volunteers - we surely don't need to dispute this.

    As I see it, the strongest element of the UKRGB challenge to English Council / CE comes from your post on UKRGB, where you argue the following when welcoming the clear statement of the BCU Board position:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike A
    I truly believe that that statement is a position we all strive to achieve, but could I ask that the BCU / CE try and engage with members in the strategy of how to get there - or at the very least communicate the pathways that BCU / CE wish to follow to achieve this aim. Then, members may wish to climb on board the campaign (we do have some ideas) as many did in the early stages of the RAC, or they may wish to seek to influence the boards view / stratergy. At the moment it is quite hard to feel engaged in the campaign as the pathway is not communicated to members.
    I like the way you go on to discuss communication matters, and to request transparency with regard to the work of the Access Policy Group and to request "A published strategy" on "what members (and non-members) can do to further the cause" - all fair enough, though I've been assured reports on the English Council meetings should be appearing, and more might become clear with the publication of the next issue of Canoe Focus / an extension to (or new FAQ section on) the CE website.

    If those turn out to be disappointing, that would appear to me to be a good moment to push your arguments: shouldn't be long to wait!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    ... and in reality, the UK abounds with great places to paddle without great fuss (including a huge proportion of inland waterways, but also extensive coastal waters).
    Yes it does. Scotland comprises 32% of the UK landmass and has free access. (And is 1.9% water compared to 1.3% for the UK as a whole, out of interest.)

    This is not a UK issue, it is an England and Wales problem.


    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    None of that takes away from the very real problem faced by a small cadre of dedicated white water enthusiasts:
    What about all the people complaining about access problems on here? Surely they are not all members of a small cadre of dedicated white water enthusiasts?


    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    (the issue certainly appears bigger in Wales than in the NE England region: not so sure re. NW/SW).
    Not sure how you work that out about NE England. Though Wales does seem to have a lot of problems.

    As a paddler based in NE England, I can assure you there are plenty of access problems up here. Come up and join me in a protest paddle.
    Last edited by Crow; 30th-March-2012 at 09:31 AM. Reason: tinkering

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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    Not sure how you work that out about NE England [...] As a paddler based in NE England, I can assure you there are plenty of access problems up here.
    I don't doubt issues exist.... but Rachel Hudspith knows more about the NE situation than most, and had this to say on BCU North-East Coaching Forum:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Hudspith
    The North East region is currently without a regional Waterways advisor but does have a number of local waterways advisors. If you are a current BCU member you could of course volunteer to help the course in stead of whingeing about it. We all want to paddle and even I manage to get on the river without any problem so I am not sure what your issue is. In the North East we are fairly fortunate with available water for paddling [...]

    We all would love to enjoy the waterways paddling responsibly as is the case in Scotland. Unfortunately it is a bit of a struggle to get government to listen. Have you lobbied your MP about your concerns?
    I don't doubt issues exist all over the place, and I can see that for some folk... we're talking a matter of principle - with the practicalities of what we can ACTUALLY access without fuss being a distraction. I've yet to see much evidence, however, that MOST of those who paddle lowland rivers EVER experience anything like the problems encountered by the WW paddlers. Moreover, my impression remains that the situation today for "tolerated access" for recreational canoeing (even on WW) is way better than it was when I was a kid - and as I see it, the future for access (especially post Caffyn) is looking ever more promising.

    OK - we have known lowland river flashpoints as well. I'm conscious of one stretch in Norfolk where I'd be braced for abuse. I'd be concerned about taking my daughter canoeing on some rivers in Hampshire. Go to all the river advisers and you could doubtless compile quite a list... but that's taking a cup-half-empty view of things - most quiet-water paddlers, most places, are not short of places where paddling is generally possible without fuss.

    All I was suggesting is that it's not just competition paddlers who mostly manage to paddle without fuss: it's most of us, most of the time, in an awful lot of places - but with major exceptions, and most notably for those wanting to paddle grade 3-4-5 rivers (especially in Wales).

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    I don't know Rachel and she may know more than most about where I live for all I know. But I do know from my own experience that problems exist here, which don't exist just a few miles further north. Which is one of the reasons I prefer to paddle north of the border these days.

    Wales does sound particularly bad though. Don't know why that should be?

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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post

    Wales does sound particularly bad though. Don't know why that should be?
    Well, I can tell you for sure what me ol' Welsh Granny would have said....'It's them English..'........
    "I was raised in a canebreak by an ol' momma lion"...


  7. #7

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    Originally Posted by Rachel Hudspith The North East region is currently without a regional Waterways advisor but does have a number of local waterways advisors. If you are a current BCU member you could of course volunteer to help the course in stead of whingeing about it. We all want to paddle and even I manage to get on the river without any problem so I am not sure what your issue is. In the North East we are fairly fortunate with available water for paddling [...]

    We all would love to enjoy the waterways paddling responsibly as is the case in Scotland. Unfortunately it is a bit of a struggle to get government to listen. Have you lobbied your MP about your concerns?
    That has a feudal tone about it I've noticed before with NE paddlers. I'm not concerned with 'managing to get on a river' and I've given up expecting the government to listen and have taken my own counsel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike A View Post
    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?

    Mike
    I think you are making an assumption here, are all the recreational paddlers you know who think improving access is important,
    a)members of CE
    b)prepared to communicate their views to CE i.e. by filling in the recent online survey etc.

    BCU/CE exists to represent the views of its members, many recreational paddlers are either not members or only join for the rivers licence, and then have nothing more to do with CE for the rest of the year.

    I think it very likely that the BCU chairman genuinely believes that it is only a small proportion of members who are frustrated by this issue.

    If we want BCU/CE to put more resources behind this, people need to become members and activly communicate their views by filling in questionaires etc, a small number of people repeatedly contacting them over the same issue is not the same as lots of different people expressing the same view.

    Barney

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    This cynical, condescending and dismissive statement by the BCU chairman is yet further evidence of the contempt for its members which permeates our NGB. The BCU Chairman has lost touch with the members he is supposed to represent. Has he seen what has been happening on the CE Facebook page? There has been no defence whatever from members who might think the charges laid against CE are unjust. The only voices heard, say, as one, that they are very disatisfied with CE... and this is no concern to him?

    I challenge him to hold regional meetings to find out what his members really think. Alternatively, CE could run a survey from their Facebook page specifically to find out what paddlers think about access.

    Until we can get enough numbers at the AGM or EGM to vote these guys out, nothing will change at Canoe England or the BCU. It is as simple as that.

    We have the incredible situation where the Canoeing NGB is as big an impediment to progress as the Anglers and the Land Owners. If only they would just say "We have no plan to increase access to English rivers, we spend no money on this, and our objective is simply to identify water where anglers and landowners will permit paddling, to pay lip service to Access, while concentrating on our real purpose, which is to foster canoe competition in all its forms."... then everyone would stop wasting time trying to get them to take action.
    Last edited by dougdew99; 30th-March-2012 at 01:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougdew99 View Post
    If only they would just say "We have no plan to increase access to English rivers, we spend no money on this, our objective is simply to identify water where anglers and landowners will permit paddling"... then everyone would stop wasting time trying to get them to take action.
    Whilst your frustration might be warranted, your post here is misleading on a number of fronts:

    • The Chairman's provided the BCU board's position on what's sought for the UK as a whole. It's one with which all those seeking legislative change can (surely) agree, and goes way, WAY beyond "simply identifying water where anglers and landowners will permit paddling".


    • As the Chairman of the Board noted, the strategy for establishing unambiguous confirmation of "the legal right to take responsible access" has been devolved to the home nations: a situation he justifies on the common-sense basis that legislative change needs to driven from where the legislative power rests.


    • As noted, given that strategy has been devolved, it would be completely inappropriate for the Chairman of the Board to comment upon (let alone speak for) the English Council, just as it would be for him to speak for Canoe Wales, CANI or the SCA.


    Now we can doubt (as you clearly do) the effectiveness of the English Council's strategy, and we might query the notion that Canoe England are "working very hard at" persuading Government "to create an act which confirms unambiguously the legal right to take responsible access as now exists in Scotland". The promised reports from the last two English Council meetings and forthcoming issue of Canoe Focus and website FAQ might clear the up the truth of this matter... but if not, this all strikes me as fair game.

    The only other thing I can see to take issue with would be the Chairman of the Board's view that "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" in Parliament. I don't have an issue with that view... but I think it's open to challenge.

    Challenging on such specifics strikes me as constructive, and I'd support that. Mud slinging in directions where it's not merited (the Chairman of Board over matters outside of his remit) is not something I'll support... and I don't think it reflects well on the SongofthePaddle access discussions.

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    Good grief!

    Have you ever considered a career in politics?

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    Since "The proposed new structure for the reformed Waterways and Environment department for Canoe England" has yet to be established and since the "English Council Terms of Reference" makes no mention of access and waterways, the Chairman of the Board must answer on behalf of the umbrella organisation and body corporate. If he doesn't know, he should make it his business to find out or volunteer a representative to speak for him.

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    @Adrian - I'm pretty sure all concerned within BCU and CE would be singing from the same hymn-sheet re. devolution of access strategy to Canoe England: I can't see anyone quibbling with the notion that it's an English Council matter... to be tackled using CE staff and volunteers.

    I'm also not clear that anyone's got any need to speak for CE on this issue at this juncture: as I understand it, the next CE communication on this matter has been decided (Canoe Focus, website FAQ, English Council reports) and anything outstanding will have to be dealt with after that.

    If someone in Cabinet wished to discuss scheduling legislation over access, I don't doubt for one moment that the appropriate representative would be found very quickly. I'm not even remotely convinced that one needs to be produced at the behest of folk on SoTP or UKRGB!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    I'm also not clear that anyone's got any need to speak for CE on this issue at this juncture:
    It seems everyone in the BCU/CE heirarcy agree with this. I understand they are declining to answer several of the questions put to them on the subject.

    I would like to make a prediction about the contents of the Canoe Focus item but I'll only be accused of jaundice again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    I would like to make a prediction about the contents of the Canoe Focus item but I'll only be accused of jaundice again.
    I'm not convinced that something put together so quickly will be adequate to the task... and I'm not going to hold my breath re. the website FAQ, either... but they've indicated their next step: it's surely only fair to give them an opportunity to present their case before taking things further.

    My main hope is that we get some clarity on who's responsible for what in terms of answering further queries, and some clear statement on where they will draw the line between constructive querying that deserves considered response through an extension of the FAQ, and badgering that might be expected to go unanswered.

    They ain't going to be able to please everyone, but clarity on where we all stand would be good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    .
    My main hope is that we get some clarity on who's responsible for what in terms of answering further queries, and some clear statement on where they will draw the line between constructive querying that deserves considered response through an extension of the FAQ, and badgering that might be expected to go unanswered.
    What you might concider as badgering another will concider as a valid question / query.

    In my mind any question a member asks deserves an answer.
    The way they answer is their choice. be it letter, email, phone or a Q and A page on their website.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    What about all the people complaining about access problems on here? Surely they are not all members of a small cadre of dedicated white water enthusiasts?
    I wonder how many forum members have actually contributed to the discussions in the access threads? To me it seems to be the same people again and again. This maybe totally inaccurate (no doubt someone will prove me wrong) but I should guess that the same about 20 names appear on about 90% of the posts. I think we need to accept that access is not a major inconvenience to a large proportion of paddlers.
    Sam

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    Quote Originally Posted by samB View Post
    This maybe totally inaccurate (no doubt someone will prove me wrong) but I should guess that the same about 20 names appear on about 90% of the posts. I think we need to accept that access is not a major inconvenience to a large proportion of paddlers.
    I don't tend to post on access threads because I feel that I don't fully understand the issue enough to make a worthwhile contribution. However, I am concerned with the access situation.

    I doubt I am alone - I was wondering if it were possible to put a thread on the forum poling members to see whether or not access issues concerned them. Nothing too heavy - maybe a simple yes or no that could be ticked in two seconds?

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    Quote Originally Posted by samB View Post
    I think we need to accept that access is not a major inconvenience to a large proportion of paddlers.
    I'm not so sure, the poll running here has over 600 responses now, the overwhelming majority of whom think that it is an issue!

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    600 out of over 10,000 - 6%!

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    Sam
    We only know the opinion of the 600 that have answered the questionnaire. We do not know the opinion of the other 9,400. We know that of the 600, very few are happy with the BCU. Of those who know about the questionnaire, there are very few who have sprung to the defence of the BCU.

    The vast majority of the 10,000 have no knowledge of the questionnaire's existence. We know that when people are told about the questionnaire, via a post to club web site or another forum, we get a response overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the BCU and very few who are happy with the BCU.

    You can draw your own conclusions from this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratty View Post
    What you might concider as badgering another will concider as a valid question / query.

    In my mind any question a member asks deserves an answer.
    The way they answer is their choice. be it letter, email, phone or a Q and A page on their website.
    In practice an organisation with tens of thousands of members is not going to be able to be able to give a detailed response to every question a member asks, they will have to draw the line some where.

    Barney

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    Barney
    When you write to an organisation of which you are a client, to ask a question about the service they provide, or to complain about lack of service, do you expect a reply?

    If many clients ask the same question, do you expect them to be ignored? Do you expect the CEO to tell them their questions are irrelevant?

    We pay these peoples' wages directly out of our pockets in membership fees and taxes, and they treat us like s**t.
    Last edited by dougdew99; 31st-March-2012 at 06:27 PM.
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    Default Is "access" a dead horse?

    Quote Originally Posted by SandfordSailor View Post
    I don't tend to post on access threads because I feel that I don't fully understand the issue enough to make a worthwhile contribution. However, I am concerned with the access situation.

    I doubt I am alone - I was wondering if it were possible to put a thread on the forum poling members to see whether or not access issues concerned them. Nothing too heavy - maybe a simple yes or no that could be ticked in two seconds?
    This is an excellent idea, we currently have over 10800 members. a simple question, such as:

    "Are you concerned about paddling access?-please answer yes or no" will quickly illustrate just how many paddlers really give a toss.

    If you made the thread/poll, one where all the members are allowed to do is vote ( once only of course) rather than waffle on, it would rapidly give an indication of whether access is a concern or not.

    To me; anyone not bothering to vote, obviously does not have an interest either way so could be counted in the "no" column.

    SamB mentioned the "20 or so" who bother to contribute to the access threads, I've no idea how many it is in reality, but He's right; it ain't many out of 10800!

    I think it's time to find out the truth about how many paddlers really do have concerns about access issues or whether the people trying so hard to promote the "campaign" are simply flogging a dead horse.


    I'd suggest that this forum is probably the ideal place to pose the question.
    I wonder if the hokey kokey really is "what it's all about"?

  25. #25

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    Here we go again! The way I see it, there are those among you that think access is not a real issue, so have no apparent interest in the fact that the majority of waterways are closed to you. When one day, the vested interests of those who wish to keep the majority of people off "their" rivers decide they want it enshrined in law and close your favourite stretch of water. Led on by the apparent attitude, apathy, complacency.. whatever... that is shown by those users who will sit back, do nothing, say nothing because "it has nothing to do with me". So when/if it happens that you have to go cap in hand to the nearest vested interest, begging for access to their river.. maybe then you will realise how sitting on the fence/your backside has "rewarded" you!
    "If you are not part of the solution, maybe you are part of the problem!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by dougdew99 View Post
    Barney
    When you write to an organisation of which you are a client, to ask a question about the service they provide, or to complain about lack of service, do you expect a reply?

    If many clients ask the same question, do you expect them to be ignored? Do you expect the CEO to tell them their questions are irrelevant?

    We pay these peoples' wages directly out of our pockets in membership fees and taxes, and they treat us like s**t.
    If I asked a question I would expect a reply, my point was that every question that has to be replied to is a use of finite resources. If a small number of CE members continue to bombard them with the same or similar questions eventually it will become counter productive and they will get fed up and stop responding, or just send out a standard response.

    I believe that those running BCU/CE believe they are doing the best they can on the access issue, and that believe they are representing the views of their members as a whole.

    At the moment those pressing for increased effort on the access issue are in a minority and until that changes, the BCU/CE will continue to act as they do now, unless they believe that a majority of their members would like them to act differently. Democracy is supposed to be based on how many people agree with you and are prepared to state their views, not on a few people shouting loudly.

    As to judging how many people feel strongly about the access issue, while most canoeists would presuambly say they would like access on a similar basis to Scotland, that isn't the same as saying it is a major issue to them.



    Originally Posted by rancid badger




    This is an excellent idea, we currently have over 10800 members. a simple question, such as:

    "Are you concerned about paddling access?-please answer yes or no" will quickly illustrate just how many paddlers really give a toss.

    If you made the thread/poll, one where all the members are allowed to do is vote ( once only of course) rather than waffle on, it would rapidly give an indication of whether access is a concern or not.

    To me; anyone not bothering to vote, obviously does not have an interest either way so could be counted in the "no" column.

    Just because there are 10800 members registered on the website it does not mean all of them are in anyway active, it could well be that several thousand of them haven't even visited for months or years, any poll would have to be based on some kind of "active member" count, not sure if this kind of information is available to the moderators.


    I would like to see a change in legislation to give access to all the UK waterways, and I would like to see the BCU/CE do more to make this happen, however I accept that the majority of BCU/CE members do not view this as a major priority. This forum is also not representitive of the BCU/CE membership a)lots of people aren't members b)the kind of open canoeing mainly talked about on this forum is mainly recreational/touring as opposed to the more formal/organised canoeing carried out by clubs etc.

    Barney
    Last edited by Barney; 1st-April-2012 at 01:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    .....Wales does sound particularly bad though. Don't know why that should be?
    The Midlands and South East - have low gradient rivers which, wherever they have reached any significant size, have been canalised and have well established and understood rights of navigation - usually utilised by boats much bigger than canoes and kayaks - as a result there is lots of flatwater recreational access - not that there is an absence of trouble - but you can work around it.

    The North East is in some respects similar to Wales - virtually no natural lakes and most of the bigger rivers are too steep for canalisation - though some (Ure/Yorkshire Ouse) have been. - And conflict between anglers and boaters has developed with the cleaning up of the lower reaches of the bigger rivers with resulting growth of the salmon runs on (for instance) the North and South Tyne.

    Wales has big problem with flat(ish) water - in that there is almost none available to paddle - the vast majority of the potential flatwater is held by Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water) who have a well practised "Just Say No" policy to almost all forms of boating (in direct contravention of their statutory duties).

    The non flat water (rivers) have, since the coal and steel industries died, been viewed as "Salmon and Sewin" by one group and as whitewater by another group - which happens to include a lot of English tourists.....

    All of the smaller river whitewater (Ogmore/Tawe/Afan/Neath) and much of the larger (usk/wye/teifi/dee) has no real reason for emnity becuase when the rivers are worth paddling they are not worth fishing - and vice versa. Fear and loathing on both sides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barney View Post
    Just because there are 10800 members registered on the website it does not mean all of them are in anyway active, it could well be that several thousand of them haven't even visited for months or years, any poll would have to be based on some kind of "active member" count, not sure if this kind of information is available to the moderators.
    Democracy is about the majority who vote - unless you believe that you need 50% of the electorate to create the majority. Even if all 10800 said that access was an issue for them that would be out of - say 500,000 paddlers - so it becomes a small percentage. You always argue voting majorities any way you want to if you're not in agreement with the result!


    This forum is also not representitive of the BCU/CE membership a)lots of people aren't members b)the kind of open canoeing mainly talked about on this forum is mainly recreational/touring as opposed to the more formal/organised canoeing carried out by clubs etc.
    You'll have to explain why "formal/organised canoeing carried out by clubs etc" is not represented on this forum..... Maybe I'll become a half-poster, only posting when in recreational/touring mode and not when in club coach and organiser mode.

    Maybe there are only 20 folks who post on threads because the others don't want to repeat what has been said before....
    You don't stop playing because you get old - you get old because you stop playing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DougR View Post
    The non flat water (rivers) have, since the coal and steel industries died, been viewed as "Salmon and Sewin" by one group and as whitewater by another group - which happens to include a lot of English tourists.....

    All of the smaller river whitewater (Ogmore/Tawe/Afan/Neath) and much of the larger (usk/wye/teifi/dee) has no real reason for emnity becuase when the rivers are worth paddling they are not worth fishing - and vice versa. Fear and loathing on both sides.
    I agree with all that except the "Fear and loathing on both sides." I don't fear nor loathe anglers...... and not all of the anglers I've met have loathed me.....
    You don't stop playing because you get old - you get old because you stop playing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twopigs View Post
    Democracy is about the majority who vote - unless you believe that you need 50% of the electorate to create the majority. Even if all 10800 said that access was an issue for them that would be out of - say 500,000 paddlers - so it becomes a small percentage. You always argue voting majorities any way you want to if you're not in agreement with the result!


    You'll have to explain why "formal/organised canoeing carried out by clubs etc" is not represented on this forum..... Maybe I'll become a half-poster, only posting when in recreational/touring mode and not when in club coach and organiser mode.

    Maybe there are only 20 folks who post on threads because the others don't want to repeat what has been said before....
    Maybe they don't post because they know people will deliberatly miss quote them.

    My comment about active members etc was in response to a previous post by "rancid badger" stating that any body not voting in a poll on access could be deemed not to have an interest in the access issue, I was trying to highlight that this would be a problem.

    As to the second point you raise, you chose to omit the word "mainly" friom your quote, I didn't say that "formal/organised canoeing carried out by clubs etc" was not represented on this forum, just that the forum tends, in general, but not always, to be more about recreational canoeing carried out by individuals, or groups of individuals without a formal club structure. That it not to say there is anything wrong with clubs, it is just my experience of the forum.
    I was trying to get the point across that this forum is not a representative sample of BCU/CE membership.

    Barney

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    Quote Originally Posted by rancid badger View Post
    To me; anyone not bothering to vote, obviously does not have an interest either way so could be counted in the "no" column.
    Yes, this is how democracy operates in many countries around the world, fortunatley not in this one. Badger for president anyone?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    Yes, this is how democracy operates in many countries around the world, fortunatley not in this one. Badger for president anyone?
    Democracy?



    I'm on about "market research" eg: "are you a car driver? please answer yes or no"

    I'm not talking about trying to find out how many BCU members have access concerns, the BCU have apparently already established that.

    There's an opportunity to get a rough idea of how many sotp members ( who might well also be BCU members) feel concerned about access issues. From that you might be able to use the figures to reinforce the campaign and get some of the people who matter to take a bit more notice.

    maybe not, I don't know

    cheers
    I wonder if the hokey kokey really is "what it's all about"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barney View Post
    I was trying to get the point across that this forum is not a representative sample of BCU/CE membership.
    Barney
    From your statement, can we assume that you know what is a representative sample of CE/BCU membership is? If not, how did you come to this conclusion. I can only go on my own experiences of meeting other BCU members, but by far the largest group of these have been recreational paddlers, some of them may have then gone on to specialise in a specific discipline but all those I have met have started as recreational paddlers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Aiuto View Post
    From your statement, can we assume that you know what is a representative sample of CE/BCU membership is? If not, how did you come to this conclusion. I can only go on my own experiences of meeting other BCU members, but by far the largest group of these have been recreational paddlers, some of them may have then gone on to specialise in a specific discipline but all those I have met have started as recreational paddlers.
    No I don't know what a representative sample is, that's kind of my point, any self selecting group is unlikely to be representative.

    By recreational I meant not being part of a formal club structure, I accept that many club paddlers are recreational paddlers probably not the best choice of words on my part. Going on your own or any one elses individual experiences is always likely to have a bias , the majority of BCU members I know I have met through this forum and are not members of club's etc. If I was a serious white water Kayaker I may have a very different experience of BCU members.

    I have no problem with a poll being run on the forum, I just wanted to get 2 points across about how the pole should be run and what could be concluded from it.
    The first being that assuming anyone who doesn't vote thinks a certain way is flawed, as they may not even be aware the question has been asked.
    The second being that the result would not neccesarily be reflective of the wider BCU membership view.

    Barney

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    Quote Originally Posted by rancid badger View Post

    I'm on about "market research" eg: "are you a car driver? please answer yes or no"
    If you don't answer you will be assumed not to be a car driver. You may find there are not many car drivers in the country.

    Quote Originally Posted by rancid badger View Post
    I'm not talking about trying to find out how many BCU members have access concerns, the BCU have apparently already established that.
    Not only do I think they have not done this, I also think they don't want to know the answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    .



    Not only do I think they have not done this, I also think they don't want to know the answer.

    This is for me the MOST important issue ! Why, to spite a considerable amount of effort and interest by canoeists

    and kayak users in the ongoing problem of access to waterways in Wales and England, over many years,do's BCU

    put forward,at best such a token response ? I feel an explanation could be that there is a codicil in BCU funding

    grant from HMG, that they should not address this situation, or they will receive reduced funds.

    As Churchill said, 'democracy is the worst form of government there is,apart from all the rest',and it certainly is not

    evident in the way BCU is organised,as I have said before,it is a self appointed, self serving quango,run on Byzantine

    lines, with very little benefit to any body that I paddle with, look at the face book debark-al,they are just not interested

    in you, or your opinions,apart from those toadies, who don't want to rock the boat.

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    Its a small point but - "as Chairman of the BCU, he could not comment on CE because that is outside of his remit" - from the original post - is absolutely correct.

    Access in England is the province of Canoe England and similarly, mutatis mutandis, Wales.

    Divide and be ruled?

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    So whose remit is it?

    Since "The proposed new structure for the reformed Waterways and Environment department for Canoe England" has yet to be established and since the "English Council Terms of Reference" makes no mention of access and waterways

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    Whose?

    Canoe England - who quite clearly could not care less.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
    ...

    As Churchill said, 'democracy is the worst form of government there is,apart from all the rest',and it certainly is not

    evident in the way BCU is organised,as I have said before,it is a self appointed, self serving quango,run on Byzantine

    lines, with very little benefit to any body that I paddle with, look at the face book debark-al,they are just not interested

    in you, or your opinions,apart from those toadies, who don't want to rock the boat.
    That is a little unfair on the Byzantine Empire, which lasted from 324 to 1453. I doubt CE will last that long and be so successful.

    But I wonder if they had access issues back then? Possibly not, as they might have had slaves to do both the paddling and the angling for them...

    In the cool of the evening by the last light of the triple sun, I wait by the go-tree when the day's busy work is done...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    That is a little unfair on the Byzantine Empire, which lasted from 324 to 1453. I doubt CE will last that long and be so successful.

    But I wonder if they had access issues back then? Possibly not, as they might have had slaves to do both the paddling and the angling for them...
    I was not aiming to cast Nasturtiums on the Byzantine Empire, with its brightly coloured art work, and longevity of

    existence, in the medieval world, but with the inflexible,complicated and complex systems of administration that have

    has become associated with the name.

    Apart from the slaves,they seem to have employed quite a few Vikings to do the paddling,and sort out any access

    problems that arose locally.

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    I am getting this picture of Hyperion boldly paddling past in his Viking Helmet, while timid anglers hide in their Carp tents, wimpering... and the Canoe England put out press statements saying access by Vikings is not endorsed in the official top secret BCU Viking policy, but Vikings are free to make their own decisions, (and usually do!).
    Last edited by dougdew99; 4th-April-2012 at 12:44 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
    I was not aiming to cast Nasturtiums on the Byzantine Empire, with its brightly coloured art work, and longevity of

    existence, in the medieval world, but with the inflexible,complicated and complex systems of administration that have

    has become associated with the name.

    Apart from the slaves,they seem to have employed quite a few Vikings to do the paddling,and sort out any access

    problems that arose locally.
    I just think the poor Byzantines get a bad press, a little unfairly.

    Perhaps in future centuries CE will become shorthand for inflexible,complicated and complex systems of administration?


    Hyperion in his Varangian days:


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    Look at that dimple !, I have never, in any life time, been that butch, judging by the vision that greets me in the

    mirror, every morning, which is a shame.

    The most violent and hectic Norsemen came from Denmark, I find this interesting,as for the last couple of century's

    it has been a Liberal democracy [they have coalitions governments of 11 parties],the country is populated by calm

    citizens, who do not seem to do anything to excess.

    My theory is that the wilder elements of their society are now part of ours, for evidence check out any town centre

    this weekend.

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    The Danes do good TV though (Borgen, The Killing, er.... Noggin the Nog?). And seem to have a lot of murders to solve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    The Danes do good TV though ....
    Oh Yes, that they do.

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    Beats speed cameras!

    In the cool of the evening by the last light of the triple sun, I wait by the go-tree when the day's busy work is done...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
    The most violent and hectic Norsemen came from Denmark,

    My theory is that the wilder elements of their society are now part of ours, for evidence check out any town centre

    this weekend.
    Too right,Hyperion.The Isle of Thanet,North Kent and the Isles of Sheppey were settled by the Jutes,(Jutland is now Den mark) -according to our local historians and guide books.

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    Not to mention Danish Pastries, Great Danes and Pingu.

    And of course Oars'n'Paddle, Prince of Rowing Boats, a member here who is pretty wild (though quiet at the moment).

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    Default Valhalla or bust,.............slow that traffic down!

    The 'Killing' is very dark, I can only watch it from behind the sofa, and never on my own in the house !

    So, Noggin the Nog was Danish ?, while making the list, lets not forget Lego, and Lurpak butter [remember

    last tango in Paris], plus all that cheep bacon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    The Danes do good TV though (Borgen, The Killing, er.... Noggin the Nog?). And seem to have a lot of murders to solve.
    Not as many murders as that Midsomer place!


    What?.............
    I wonder if the hokey kokey really is "what it's all about"?

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    In the lands of the North,
    Where the black rocks stand guard against the cold sea,
    In the dark night that is very long
    The men of the North Lands sit by the great log fires
    And they tell a tale.
    They tell how a prince built a long ship

    .... take it from there Crow ...

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    ...And sailed in it beyond the black ice at the end of the world,
    To bring home the treasure from the land of the midnight sun.


    They tell of Noggin, prince of the Nogs
    And how he sailed to the land of the midnight sun
    To fetch Nooka, princess of the Nooks, to be his queen.
    And they tell of Graculus, the great green bird
    Who was Noggin's guide on his journey,
    And they tell of Noggin's wicked uncle Nogbad the Bad
    Who tried to seize the throne while Noggin was away
    And who was banished for ever from the land of Nog....

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    Why would anyone expect a group of bureaucrats to do anything except protect their own position within the bureaucracy? 5-6 years now I have been listening to this and there has been no movement, just more useless words.

    If you want to canoe that bad, go to Scotland. Or come to Canada; if you have a pulse you can get a decent job.

    I could not imagine obeying all the bull$h!t laws over there. I am afraid I would be a habitual criminal canoeist with no hope for rehabilitation.
    Lloyd

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd View Post

    I could not imagine obeying all the bull$h!t laws over there.
    I dont

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd View Post
    . Or come to Canada; if you have a pulse you can get a decent job.

    What ? for a whole weekend !

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