LCA Management Meetings

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.