Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

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Pam Bell
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Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Pam Bell » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:53 am

Prior to the deadline, I and another member submitted a motion to the Canoe Wales AGM proposing that the current system of charging paddlers cease and that all visitors, for whatever purpose, should be charged for specific facilities that they use.
The motion is not on the agenda for the AGM. The letter from CW notifying me of this contains some points of interest.
Canoe Wales wrote:Dear Pam
Thank you for submitting a motion for the 2017 AGM agenda.
After careful consideration, our interim Chairperson, David Wakeling, has declined to include your motion on the agenda.
However, we would like to respond to your concerns as we are keen to ensure that we operate the facility at Canolfan Tryweryn in the best interests of the paddling community and the general public. The facility fees charged at Tryweryn are for the use of the facilities on the site, but not passage on the water itself. We have a lease and management plan agreed with our landlords Natural Resources Wales which requires us to take responsibility for all river users and we are responsible for managing the estate appropriately. The site is part of the SSSI and River Dee Special Area of Conservation. Paddlers are welcome to enter the water from an alternative access point and pass through the site without paying the fee, but if they wish to use any of the facilities at Canolfan Tryweryn, then we are obliged by the terms of our lease to manage their activities, and in order to keep the centre viable and pay for the costs of managing the estate and for water releases, it is necessary to charge a fee.
Your motion suggests that the facility fee is inconsistent with our position statement – we do not believe this to be the case. Our position statement says the following: “That public or private rights to the use of waterways do not in themselves grant paddlers any rights to cross land to access those waterways.” We recognise that landowners have a right (and in our case, a responsibility) to manage their land and to charge for the use of their land where appropriate.
If you would like to discuss this further, there will be ample opportunity for a conversation with our directors at the dinner following the AGM – I’m sure they would be very happy to hear your thoughts and discuss the issues with you at that time.
With best regards

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Frank B
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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Frank B » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:20 am

Where is the access point which you can use to paddle through the site without using the facilities ?

I think the £14 fee for non BCU members stops a lot of people using Tryweryn (including me) whereas I would be happy to pay £7. Sometimes charging less per user brings in more money overall

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John K
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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by John K » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:07 pm

I guess it will depend on the wording of the constitution but I would expect any member to be able to get their proposal onto the AGM agenda if they follow the correct procedure. I wouldn't expect it to be at the Chair's discretion.

I am also very uncomfortable with the situation at the Treweryn as it does seem to undermine our position on access, despite protestations to the contrary.

I don't know the land ownership situation around the Treweryn though. Is it actually possible to access direct from public land, or does all access require use of private land for which a fee might be reasonable?

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morsey
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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by morsey » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:32 pm

Is that following correct constitutional process, to deny a motion which has been submitted for inclusion adhering to full protocol?

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Franky » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:46 pm

John K wrote:or does all access require use of private land for which a fee might be reasonable?
Yes. Check out the OS map. The whole thing is a non-issue.

CTWWC is a great facility, with changing rooms, toilets, a first aid room, and shuttle buses every half hour to the top of the run. It offers equivalent amenities to an artificial course but on a mile-long stretch of continuous grade 3+ water. The staff are pleasant and helpful. I'm happy to fund it.

Without CTWWC there'd be no legal access to the Upper Tryweryn at all. There are no public footpaths to the river, and because of the dam which makes the river runnable when everything else is dry, getting in further up isn't an option. Access is therefore at the discretion of whoever owns or leases the land. If it weren't CTWWC it would be a farmer, who, even if they allowed access, would have no stake in keeping the river paddler-friendly, unlike CTWWC.

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Mike A » Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:17 pm

I am surprised that, given the importance of access, this was declined as a topic to be discussed.

CT is a strange one, as it is clearly a managed resource and needs funding.

BUT,

The problem re our the fight for access is:

CT allows free access to non paddlers to walk beside the river, stand on the access steps etc etc.

CT does not charge for paddling along the river if accessed from other area

So, for paddlers who dont use the shuttle or changing rooms, what are those paddlers actually paying for?

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Franky » Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:30 pm

I can't believe there's even an argument about this. CT manage the land and it's up to them how they structure their charging. If they want to let people walk along the river for free, they can.

Anyone who feels that free permissive access for pedestrians to the river bank implies free paddling access to the river can refuse to pay the paddling fee, launch their boat and see if they get challenged. It seems to be looking for a fight with someone who's actually on your side, and I don't think it would be good PR for paddlers, but if you think you'd be in the right, go ahead.

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Chalky723 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:19 pm

Franky wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:30 pm
Anyone who feels that free permissive access for pedestrians to the river bank implies free paddling access to the river can refuse to pay the paddling fee, launch their boat and see if they get challenged.
We only ever buy one ticket per car so we can park & have never paid to get on the river & have never been challenged.

Don't use Toilets, Showers or Shuttle, so don't see the need to pay for them.

Use the cafe - but I'm obviously paying for the services I receive.

D
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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by neonbowhawk » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:55 pm

Who manages the river? And organises the release? Are there fees for that? If thats what the fees go towards then I have no problem paying.
£14 is not a lot of money for a day out.

I do wonder, if people are against supporting this resource, what would they happily pay £14 for?

Chalky do you think the water release is something you should contribute to as well as parking fees?


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John K
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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by John K » Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:28 pm

Franky wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:46 pm
John K wrote:or does all access require use of private land for which a fee might be reasonable?
Yes. Check out the OS map. The whole thing is a non-issue.

CTWWC is a great facility, with changing rooms, toilets, a first aid room, and shuttle buses every half hour to the top of the run. It offers equivalent amenities to an artificial course but on a mile-long stretch of continuous grade 3+ water. The staff are pleasant and helpful. I'm happy to fund it.

Without CTWWC there'd be no legal access to the Upper Tryweryn at all. There are no public footpaths to the river, and because of the dam which makes the river runnable when everything else is dry, getting in further up isn't an option. Access is therefore at the discretion of whoever owns or leases the land. If it weren't CTWWC it would be a farmer, who, even if they allowed access, would have no stake in keeping the river paddler-friendly, unlike CTWWC.
So why does the letter from CW say "Paddlers are welcome to enter the water from an alternative access point and pass through the site without paying the fee"?

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Adrian Cooper » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:49 pm

I haven't recently found a map I spotted a couple of years ago but, on the basis that 'once a highway, always a highway', I suspect there is a route to the river. The current route of the A4212 is clearly recent and there would always have been a road up the valley to Capel Celyn. The route through the CT site might have been changed slightly but probably follows broadly the same route as it always did. You will note that the road extends beyond the river, over the bridge to serve the small farm on the south side of the valley insofar as there is no other road to this collection of buildings. I suspect, therefore, that, whilst it might take some trouble to actually prove it, there is a public route to the river at the bridge through the CT site.

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Franky » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:49 pm

John K wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:28 pm
So why does the letter from CW say "Paddlers are welcome to enter the water from an alternative access point and pass through the site without paying the fee"?
They're covering themselves. Theoretically, a paddler might get permission from the relevant landowner to put on immediately below the dam, and then go through the "Chipper" to the section run by CT.

Or the paddler might put on above the Chipper illegally, and CT are saying that's between the paddler and the other landowner.

CT are clarifying that they're not charging you for using the river, but for access to it. If you don't think they have any right to do that, paddle anyway, but personally I'd rather pay the money, make use of the facilities (especially the shuttle bus), and keep a bit of good will circulating.

Is this even relevant to the wider access debate? The fact that the OP proposed an official review of the charging model at CT is surely acknowledgement of their right to charge, whether or not the paddler likes it, or thinks it's too expensive.

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buck197
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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by buck197 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:16 pm

No one complains about paying for CIWW yet we get complaints for paying for CTWWC. Are paddlers happy the centre is shutdown and releases are random as and when the water board want them and not advertised? As an occasional visitor it seems a good resource when it's dry in Devon.
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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by quicky » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:48 pm

Its probably the changing terms they use.

Is the bit about people being welcome to get on above the site and paddle through an admission that they cannot charge for passage?

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by cp » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:56 pm

Pam,

I totally agree with you, unless all people are charged how can they say you can walk along for free and run the river for free but if you do both its not free. This is totally against the WCA access promise and I do not see how they can defend this by charging only paddlers. A parking charge would be much fairer and defendable. If you do speak with the CEO I would be interested to see his replies. However I went to the BC consultations and the CEO then proceeded to do the exact opposite of what he said and raise membership fees so not too sure you can trust them anyway.

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Chalky723 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:07 pm

neonbowhawk wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:55 pm
Chalky do you think the water release is something you should contribute to as well as parking fees?
I do contribute when I have my pre-paddle wee above the chipper..... ;-)

No-one pays for the water release, it's something that the water company do to maintain levels.

If the centre was bulldozed tomorrow there would still be releases, they'd be communicated if requested & some cunning paddler would knock up a web page, FB group or twitter feed.....

Maybe its the because I find it hard to relate to a river as a "facility" unlike LV or HPP where my paddling pounds directly pay for the water to flow....

D
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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Wets » Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:28 pm

The Tryweryn is a great facility all round. I don't understand anyone begrudging the cost with the shuttles, changing facilities and site upkeep costs. Why would you walk 1km carrying your boat using all that energy when it is better spent on the river, all for the sake of £14!

What I do begrudge is £10 a session at HPP with often poor customer service, totally crap water quality and riddled with solid wooden slalom poles. No comparison.

Cheers

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Pam Bell
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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Pam Bell » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:20 pm

cp wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:56 pm
...unless all people are charged how can they say you can walk along for free and run the river for free but if you do both its not free. This is totally against the WCA access promise and I do not see how they can defend this by charging only paddlers. A parking charge would be much fairer and defendable.
You have hit the nail on the head there, Chris! To be fair, a facility charge must apply to all people who use that facility. There is an argument for saying members should be given a discount, but to charge paddlers more than anyone else to use the site facilities is bizarre!
cp wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:56 pm
If you do speak with the CEO I would be interested to see his replies.
There is no longer a CEO at Canoe Wales, and I think the Acting Chair is already well aware of my concerns - we have debated the issue often enough in the past!

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Pam Bell
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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Pam Bell » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:28 pm

John K wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:07 pm
I guess it will depend on the wording of the constitution but I would expect any member to be able to get their proposal onto the AGM agenda if they follow the correct procedure. I wouldn't expect it to be at the Chair's discretion.
Nor would I!
John K wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:07 pm
I am also very uncomfortable with the situation at the Treweryn as it does seem to undermine our position on access, despite protestations to the contrary.
I agree. CW/CT seem to agree too, as they have now stated in the letter that they are not charging for passage, and that " Paddlers are welcome to enter the water from an alternative access point and pass through the site without paying the fee.." This is not consistent with having a 'River Pass' as part of the 'facility'.
John K wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:07 pm
Is it actually possible to access direct from public land, or does all access require use of private land for which a fee might be reasonable?
The point here is that not all access requires access from land leased by CT. Whether paddlers access the river from private land elsewhere, and whether or not they pay a fee to the landowner for doing so, does not affect the right of navigation once they are on the water.

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Pam Bell
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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Pam Bell » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:47 pm

Wets wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:28 pm
I don't understand anyone begrudging the cost with the shuttles, changing facilities and site upkeep costs.
I wouldn't begrudge the cost of any facilities I used, car parking and shuttle would be very welcome as I imagine they would to most paddlers. However, even if the cost of the 'River Pass' were set at 50p it would be too high a price to pay for compromising a principle as important as the right of navigation.

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Pam Bell
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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Pam Bell » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:55 pm

Franky wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:49 pm
Is this even relevant to the wider access debate? The fact that the OP proposed an official review of the charging model at CT is surely acknowledgement of their right to charge, whether or not the paddler likes it, or thinks it's too expensive.
We didn't propose an official review of the charging model, we proposed immediate cessation of charges for linear access and passage. That linear access and passage are a breach of CW access policy is acknowledged in their letter.

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Mike A » Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:03 am

Adrian Cooper wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:49 pm
I haven't recently found a map I spotted a couple of years ago but, on the basis that 'once a highway, always a highway', I suspect there is a route to the river. The current route of the A4212 is clearly recent and there would always have been a road up the valley to Capel Celyn. The route through the CT site might have been changed slightly but probably follows broadly the same route as it always did. You will note that the road extends beyond the river, over the bridge to serve the small farm on the south side of the valley insofar as there is no other road to this collection of buildings. I suspect, therefore, that, whilst it might take some trouble to actually prove it, there is a public route to the river at the bridge through the CT site.
I have no problem with funding CT, it is a managed facitlity, however it is the way they have to dance on a pin head to justify it that makes it hard to square with the general access argument.

Funding needs to be smarter than current method, which is why i really liked it when we paid for parking only, otherwise people will use it as a stick to fight access. IE, if we are tring to argue that a footpath to a river equates to launch spot, its hard when people can freely walk to the Tryweryn, but then to launch you have to pay.

Re old maps, I love old maps and this resource is great; http://maps.nls.uk/geo/find/#zoom=11&la ... 49,-3.6599

The road through CT would appear to be the old road.

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by DaveBland » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:47 am

I'm kinda caught half way on this. I totally get the need for CT to being seen to be supporting the push for access and that there is hypocrisy in their charging model if you pick it apart.
Also i recognize that paddlers are the worst kind of want everything for free and not want to pay bunch.

Ultimately CT is fab. I remember when it used to be a crapload more to paddle there back in the day. I think it was 20 quid in the late 80s?

To be fair to CT they are a business and they have made an effort to clarify their charging in the light of the access debate. They just haven't done a very thought through job and it comes across as clumsy. In their view I'm sure they believe they have covered it.
dave

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Jonny1982 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:33 am

Just to add my tuppence here. CT used to have 300 days a year guaranteed access and no charge for paddling - there may have been a parking charge. I'm going back 10-15 years here. Back then we'd pay for food at the cafe and I'm pretty sure we paid for the use of the changing rooms too. I wouldn't mind a nominal fee, but £14 per paddler seems a bit excessive. It feels like CW/CT are penalizing paddlers for wanting to use their facilities.

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by jmmoxon » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:56 am

Yes, there was free use for individual paddlers back then as WCA had decided that they wouldn't charge for access, but the business wasn't covering costs, so it is a subject that has been discussed before...

On WCA website it does say (which was posted on 11th Aug):
"Any member of Canoe Wales can also submit a motion to be included on the agenda at the AGM. As per the Canoe Wales Articles of Association, these motions must be submitted within 42 days of the meeting and will be accepted at the discretion of the Chairperson. The deadline for submitting a motion for the 2017 AGM is 19 August 2017."

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by MikeVeal » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:32 pm

Pam Bell wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:20 pm
You have hit the nail on the head there, Chris! To be fair, a facility charge must apply to all people who use that facility. There is an argument for saying members should be given a discount, but to charge paddlers more than anyone else to use the site facilities is bizarre!
Life isn't fair.

There are two distinct and separate issues here:
1/ By charging, are CT undermining our argument on a historic PRN existing.
2/ Does the charge make sense, and who should pay.

CT do not charge for passage over the water. They charge for "use of facilities on the site". This is vague, but can mean anything from car parking, the shop, changing facilities and access to the river from their land.

If you access the water from CT land, then they do have every right to charge for that. They could charge by the group, by a car load of paddlers, or individually. They could include this charge in their parking fee or set up a kiosk and turnstile at the access and egress points. They could choose to charge paddlers and let pedestrians have free access, or they could choose to charge paddlers over 6ft tall with red boats twice as much on Sundays. It's the land owners prerogative, it neither has to make sense or be fair.


So, no, CT's charging policy has clearly been very carefully worded such that they do not undermine the historic PRN argument.

Should all paddlers pay? Well that's a matter for each paddler's conscience. Ignoring the cost of running the shuttle and buildings, I can't imagine that site management has zero cost. Just owning the land will have an equity cost, then there's liability insurance, upkeep of roads and paths, upkeep of the river itself, upkeep of the access and egress points. etc. etc.

Personally I think that turning up and using these less-tangible facilities without paying is tantamount to stealing. If you genuinely access above and egress below, then fine. Otherwise, shame on the non-paying freeloaders.

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by morsey » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:59 pm

morsey wrote:Is that following correct constitutional process
jmmoxon wrote:will be accepted at the discretion of the Chairperson.
There we are then.

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Franky » Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:06 pm

So let's say CT drop the charge for paddling, become insolvent, and sell the land to farmers. Paddling access to the best reliable white water in Wales ceases completely.

All for the sake of an idiosyncratic interpretation of the principle of the right to navigation.

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by Chris Bolton » Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:57 pm

So long as CT are clear that they are not charging for paddling, there's no problem. They have now stated "The facility fees charged at Tryweryn are for the use of the facilities on the site, but not passage on the water itself" so if they update other wording such as 'river pass' to avoid ambiguity, that should be it.

I don't think any paddlers have a problem with paying to use changing facilities or shuttle services. Part of the problem people have with paying for car parks, riverside paths, access across land, management of releases*, maintenance such clearing vegetation, etc, is that on most rivers we don't pay for these facilities, but that's because they don't exist.

*Releases would happen anyway, but not necessarily at the times we want them. There is a hydro electric station at the dam, and that could probably make more money by timing releases for maximum electricity price.

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Re: Access and facility charging at Canolfan Tryweryn

Post by C1pete » Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:10 pm

I completely agree with MikeVeal's point. Essentially, CT's business is charging people to cross their land. We pay the money because doing so enables us to access some great WW. The sweetener is that you get somewhere warm and dry to change if you want to use it, a hot(ish) shower, toilets with bog roll and a shuttle. If you don't want to use any of these while you are there you still have the benefit of good clear well maintained paths along the river for walking up and down/ providing safety cover rather than fighting through trees/brambles. I don't see how anything is wrong with this or what there is to moan about. If you want to go to the hassle of skydiving with your boat, landing on the water below the dam and getting out at the next available public access point then crack on, personally I am happy to pay the fee, enjoy my day and buy a nice bacon butty and brew to have whilst waiting for the shuttle back the top.

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