Well Done Canoe Wales!

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by Franky » Sat May 26, 2018 11:22 am

DaveBland wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 4:31 am
When you have a governing body that states you have a right to paddle ANY river for free – and then seemingly charges you for paddling one that the manage - there are going to be a few grumbles.
They claim you have a right to navigate any river for free. They don't claim that nobody can charge you for getting on the river.

Is it such a hard distinction to understand? You can perceive it as a charge for navigation if you like, but it doesn't take that much mental effort to see that that's not what it is.
Yes, it's totally reasonable for them to charge a facility fee for all the extra stuff they do. But the problem is if you say, "I don't want the facilities, so I don't want to pay" it causes an issue.
But as someone else pointed out, rules based on that distinction are difficult to enforce. You might say that's CT's problem. But in the real world, as opposed to paddler paradise, some amount of give and take is always going to be necessary.
And If you charge for access to the river via their land, then that's fine, but you can't just charge paddlers and not walkers.
CT is a business and needs to make money, or at least to supplement its grant adequately if it receives one. People seem to be forgetting that. A lot of the money made by the cafe will be from walkers, or people accompanying paddlers and rafters but not getting on the water.

I don't envisage many walkers paying to take their dogs along the Tryweryn when thousands of acres of Snowdonia are accessible to them for free.

Also, I think charging walkers would give the facility a bit of a "prison camp" feel.

I wonder what proportion of the complaints about CT's charges are really based on issues of principle, and what proportion are due to paddlers simply being tight-wads!

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by DaveBland » Mon May 28, 2018 11:50 pm

Franky saying "They don't claim that nobody can charge you for getting on the river." is missing the point. They are charging paddlers for that [okay for access via their land] but then not charging walkers.

The fundamental point isn't what they say they are charging for. You have a governing actively campaigning for open and free navigation down all waterways and then seemingly charging paddlers to paddle a natural river. It's as simple as that. It does across as hypercritical and undermines the good work they do on access.

Of course they need make money and cover the facility costs – but it's their responsibility to structure that in a way that doesn't contradict their access stance. That's all.

I's not about tight wad paddlers complaining about paying.
dave

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by jmmoxon » Tue May 29, 2018 7:05 am

But it's not a natural river, there's a blinking great dam releasing water at times to suit paddlers that they have to pay for - they are charging for the facilities, not just for crossing their land...

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by John K » Tue May 29, 2018 7:37 am

I disagree. The fundamental thing they are charging for is access to the river across their land. The other facilities come as part of the package whether you want them or not and CT does not control the dam releases.

As far as I am concerned this is legitimate, and doesn’t necessarily mean that CT should be charging walkers/spectators too, although they would be in their rights to if they decided to.

Part of the problem at the Tryweryn is that for some reason CT have always been shy of saying that they charge for launching, which I don’t understand as this just complicates things.

The other part is that they are still claiming to control what happens *on* the river which puts them at odds with national access policy. Looking at the CT web site, there has been some improvement to the wording (they have removed reference to the “River pass” for instance), but there are still inconsistencies.

For instance:

“When there are competitions/events on, certain sections of the river are closed throughout the day.”

If this was any other land owner and they wanted to close a river for competitions (fishing matches?) there would be uproar.

For the record I think CT provides a great facility and don’t have an issue with the charges. However their stated position is still contrary to CW access policy and needs to be changed. This is purely a matter of semantics though and a suitable form of words should not be difficult to find.

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by jmmoxon » Tue May 29, 2018 7:50 am

They tried charging for separate parts & didn't make enough money, whilst some people were still taking advantage of stuff they hadn't paid for (mainly the shuttle). Members of the public wouldn't use the cafe if there was a parking fee that covered other costs.

I agree they need to sort their explanation.

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by Canoe Wales Access » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:40 pm

It's great to see a lively debate on our charging policy at Canolfan Tryweryn. We are acutely aware of the strength of feeling around this issue and the importance of Canoe Wales striking the right balance between promoting access on rivers and the commercial interest at the Centre.

Our formal position is set out below, reflecting many of the comments made in this thread and hopefully answering several of the questions raised (with apologies that it's taken me so long to get around to posting it here):

“Canoe Wales understands that there is evidence of a Public Right of Navigation on rivers in Wales and that it is therefore inappropriate for landowners to require permission or to charge paddlers for navigating along rivers. However, we acknowledge that a Public Right of Navigation does not convey the right to cross land to gain access to or from a river, nor the right to “occupy” sections of river. We recognise that there can be a cost to landowners in providing and maintaining access to or from rivers; and providing and maintaining facilities used by paddlers (including car parks and toilets). We therefore accept that it may sometimes be appropriate for landowners to charge a fee for paddlers to cross their land and/or use their facilities while accessing or egressing rivers. However, such fees should be fair, reasonable and proportionate to the costs incurred by the landowner in providing and maintaining those facilities.

“We apply these principles directly at Canolfan Tryweryn, which is operated by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canoe Wales with the primary purpose of providing opportunities for paddlesport on the River Tryweryn. The costs of maintaining the facility at Canolfan Tryweryn for the benefit of paddlers must be recovered, or it would simply cease to exist. We believe the most appropriate way to do this is to charge paddlers a fee, not for using the river, but for making use of our land to access the river and making use of the facilities that support this (including car parks, changing rooms, toilets and occasional shuttle transport). We do not believe it is necessary to impose a similar charge on other users of our land or facilities, who visit us for reasons incidental to our primary purpose but whom we welcome nonetheless (to walk in our woods, eat in our café, or enjoy watching the white-water action). We are aware that some paddlers consider this policy (and the general concept of “launch fees”) to be equivalent to “paying for use of the river” and to therefore contravene our position in campaigning for greater access to Welsh rivers. However, we believe that most paddlers will appreciate our approach as being both appropriate and welcome in offering easy access to a popular, world-class, white water river, while being wholly consistent with our wider policies on access.”

Steve Rayner, Canoe Wales Waterways & Environment Officer

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by quicky » Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:37 pm

From FB

https://www.facebook.com/CanoeWales/

Canolfan Tryweryn Charging Policy

Canoe Wales is acutely aware of the strength of feeling around charges at Canolfan Tryweryn and the importance of striking the right balance between promoting access on rivers and the commercial interest at the Centre. Our formal position is set out below, expanding slightly on the item published in "The Cost of Access?" article in the June 2018 issue of Ceufad:

“Canoe Wales understands that there is evidence of a Public Right of Navigation on rivers in Wales and that it is therefore inappropriate for landowners to require permission or to charge paddlers for navigating along rivers. However, we acknowledge that a Public Right of Navigation does not convey the right to cross land to gain access to or from a river, nor the right to “occupy” sections of river. We recognise that there can be a cost to landowners in providing and maintaining access to or from rivers; and providing and maintaining facilities used by paddlers (including car parks and toilets). We therefore accept that it may sometimes be appropriate for landowners to charge a fee for paddlers to cross their land and/or use their facilities while accessing or egressing rivers. However, such fees should be fair, reasonable and proportionate to the costs incurred by the landowner in providing and maintaining those facilities.

“We apply these principles directly at Canolfan Tryweryn, which is operated by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canoe Wales with the primary purpose of providing opportunities for paddlesport on the River Tryweryn. The costs of maintaining the facility at Canolfan Tryweryn for the benefit of paddlers must be recovered, or it would simply cease to exist. We believe the most appropriate way to do this is to charge paddlers a fee, not for using the river, but for making use of our land to access the river and making use of the facilities that support this (including car parks, changing rooms, toilets and occasional shuttle transport). We do not believe it is necessary to impose a similar charge on other users of our land or facilities, who visit us for reasons incidental to our primary purpose but whom we welcome nonetheless (to walk in our woods, eat in our café, or enjoy watching the white-water action). We are aware that some paddlers consider this policy (and the general concept of “launch fees”) to be equivalent to “paying for use of the river” and to therefore contravene our position in campaigning for greater access to Welsh rivers. However, we believe that most paddlers will appreciate our approach as being both appropriate and welcome in offering easy access to a popular, world-class, white water river, while being wholly consistent with our wider policies on access.”

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by mudlark » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:36 pm

Tryweryn may be based on a natural river but it is really another facility like Lee Valley, Nottingham and Cardiff. We pay for them. The water levels in the Tryweryn rely on water from the dam. If you paddled the river before the 1981 Worlds you would know how much work has been done to the river and environs. If you object to paying to use the facilities, launch, use the shuttle then come up with a viable plan to keep the centre open so people can use them for free.

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by DaveBland » Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:13 pm

This statement from CW is for me a good stab at explaining what is a very tricky situation to balance.
Firstly good on CW for addressing it and not just hiding. That's admirable.

It's never going to be an easy line to walk, as of course there are many improvements and facilities that need to be paid for, but then access along the river has to be free. Luckily for CW, the T has no access from above so ultimately they can charge how they want for access to the river over their land. What makes it tricky is charging paddlers for access to the river and not anyone else without it looking like they are charging to paddle. It's ultimately an unwinable situation perception-wise.

I think that the answer lies in a theoretical " if someone wanted to access the river from above, and just paddle down it, would CW feel they should pay?"

If they are happy for the theoretical paddler to pass down the river for free, then the access argument is intact. If not, then it's not.
dave

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by Franky » Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:00 am

DaveBland wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:13 pm
I think that the answer lies in a theoretical " if someone wanted to access the river from above, and just paddle down it, would CW feel they should pay?"

If they are happy for the theoretical paddler to pass down the river for free, then the access argument is intact. If not, then it's not.
I'm pretty sure they do say that somewhere on the CT web site, or used to. (The site has undergone a revamp since I last visited.) The wording was something to the effect of, "If you are able to get on the river above CT's land, no charge is applicable." In other words, if you have a deal with the landowner of the small section of adjacent land above CT, you can go down for free.

I agree that CW have done a good thing by issuing this statement, and as far as I can tell it is sensibly and unambiguously worded. I have only good experiences of using CT. It's a well-run place with excellent facilities, friendly staff and a nice atmosphere. It's a godsend to UK paddlers in the summer. The only similar facility I know of is the Washburn, but that's mostly grade 2 and doesn't compare with the Tryweryn as a meaty paddling experience.

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by frankthesurf » Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:09 pm

Dead simple:
Forget the charges, forget the changing room, cafe shuttle bus and all that bullshit. Let's go back to how it used to be before it was managed. ie FREE!
I used to carry my boat, just as I carried it up stacks of other Welsh rivers.
Of course it won't go back as they are making a shitload of money out of the rafting.
Ausgburg...pay?? Grandtully Pay???
Anyhow to finalise about landowners interpretation of paying.

In around 1983 our group, on exiting the water at the bottom of the Fairy Glen, was asked by the then landowner (Mr Wainwright) who accosted us and requested payment for accessing the river. Of course we laughed and refused.
He argued that ' if your association charges you for access then why shouldn't I?'

There you go, my tuppenceworth. (again)

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by Franky » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:50 pm

Who owned the land before CT? Was there a permissive footpath that allowed paddlers to access the river? If not, how/where did they get on?

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by frankthesurf » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:29 pm

I seem to remember there was an access road that was owned (and may still be) by Welsh Water I think it was at the time. The same road is the access to the river top and may be part of a lease they have with canoe wales. I also remember a footpath.
We bumped into many a workman and never got questioned.
One of our early daft projects was to abseil down the overflow tower in Llyn Celyn and walk out into the stilling basin.
We encountered many fishermen and never had a clash. The river was salmon a plenty!!
I think the land around was owned by Mrs Davies (no relation to George who became center manager later). The old railway bridge rapid was affectionately known as Mrs Davies' bridge.
If there was no release we would likely go search out some dribble, Cynfal for example!

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:37 pm

There is a general rule which I think is common law that 'once a highway, always a highway'. Prior to the creation of the reservoir there was a road up the valley broadly on the line of the road through the CT site which takes you to the base of the dam. Now, when the whole of the village and the valley was compulsorily purchased for the reservoir, there may have been some act of parliament which removed the public rights along this road; it would take quite a bit of digging to find this out. If the road is still a public right of way, despite any lease which CT might have, one could likely access the river along this and over land owned by the water company.

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by frankthesurf » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:43 pm

Adrian....that's an interesting one!!

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:53 pm

We aim to please ;-)

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by Mike A » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:28 pm

https://maps.nls.uk/view/102184273

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/find/#zoom=11&l ... 71,-3.6567

Good place to look at old maps of Tryweryn. I think the footpath to the halt might have been under the dam but could be wrong - would need to look harder

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by ChrisPage » Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:09 pm

Adrian Cooper wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:37 pm
There is a general rule which I think is common law that 'once a highway, always a highway'. Prior to the creation of the reservoir there was a road up the valley broadly on the line of the road through the CT site which takes you to the base of the dam. Now, when the whole of the village and the valley was compulsorily purchased for the reservoir, there may have been some act of parliament which removed the public rights along this road; it would take quite a bit of digging to find this out. If the road is still a public right of way, despite any lease which CT might have, one could likely access the river along this and over land owned by the water company.
You'd have to then be able to prove that the land between the footpath was either publically accessible or that you had permission of the landowner. You'd then need to also find parking you could use. And to find a get out where you could also directly access a right of way. And then to haul your boat back to the start each time on your own. And have no access to the toilets or changing facilities. And to convince the water company to keep releasing water from the dams after any deal with CW ends because they aren't gettin money in.

The issue isn't if this is consistent with current understanding of access policy/rights. Because it plain is.

The issue is if you think the charging model is the right one.

Why do walkers get charged less? Do they also need water releasing from the dam? Do they also use the showers? And the shuttle? Would walkers care as much if the center was shut down?

Should CW charge a per item fee - e.g. for the showers, the shuttle and parking separate (and if they chose to do so for access across the land)? Maybe they could - but they've tried it before and it didn't work.

Do they charge too much? Maybe they'd get more people and so more money if they charged less?

All those things could be true, but they are about the model used, not the principle.

Anyone who thinks they are making a killing from either the single paddler or for commercial use really doesn't understand how thin margins are at such places. Holme Pierrepont struggles to make enough to keep all it's facilities going.

At the end of the day, maybe some think that having free access over land should be a right. I sympathize with that, it really should be in a hell of a lot more places,possibly it should be here. But to keep the facility running they'd still need to charge for the other bits (parking, showers, shuttle, dam releases) or the whole thing still stops - and is anyone really arguing those things shouldn't be chargeable?

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by Ian Dallaway » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:52 am

ChrisPage wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:09 pm

You'd have to then be able to prove that the land between the footpath was either publically accessible or that you had permission of the landowner. You'd then need to also find parking you could use. And to find a get out where you could also directly access a right of way. And then to haul your boat back to the start each time on your own. And have no access to the toilets or changing facilities. And to convince the water company to keep releasing water from the dams after any deal with CW ends because they aren't gettin money in.

The issue isn't if this is consistent with current understanding of access policy/rights. Because it plain is.

The issue is if you think the charging model is the right one.

Why do walkers get charged less? Do they also need water releasing from the dam? Do they also use the showers? And the shuttle? Would walkers care as much if the center was shut down?

Should CW charge a per item fee - e.g. for the showers, the shuttle and parking separate (and if they chose to do so for access across the land)? Maybe they could - but they've tried it before and it didn't work.

Do they charge too much? Maybe they'd get more people and so more money if they charged less?

All those things could be true, but they are about the model used, not the principle.

Anyone who thinks they are making a killing from either the single paddler or for commercial use really doesn't understand how thin margins are at such places. Holme Pierrepont struggles to make enough to keep all it's facilities going.

At the end of the day, maybe some think that having free access over land should be a right. I sympathize with that, it really should be in a hell of a lot more places,possibly it should be here. But to keep the facility running they'd still need to charge for the other bits (parking, showers, shuttle, dam releases) or the whole thing still stops - and is anyone really arguing those things shouldn't be chargeable?
Your first post Chris - and what a good one!
At the end of the day paddlers have a choice - either go there and pay, or go and paddle somewhere else. It's as simple as that really.

I for one think the facility on offer is brilliant. A days worth of fun for only £7. It costs me way more than that in fuel to get there. I will definitely continue to use (and pay for) it during the months when there are no natural rivers of a similar grade around.
Ian

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by Adrian Cooper » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:32 am

So often a simple matter is distorted with arguments which throw in allsorts of spurious issues which don't bolster the counter-argument but just obscure it. I raised an issue about rights of way, I get an argument about showers. Who uses showers in the layby at the Aberglaslyn Gorge and who checks that there is a public footpath from the gap in the wall to the river bank, a distance of some 20 feet?

The argument about walkers and showers and shuttles is also a nonsense. Walkers don't use showers, as a paddler I don't use showers, the showers are there because of rafters and slalom paddlers. Walkers don't use the shuttle bus, well, you know what, I don't use the shuttle bus either because I have a canoe and the trailer is not big enough to carry a canoe. Apparently they sometimes take a large trailer to the bottom, it gets there at about 2pm!

It is suggested that there is a difference between the principle and the charging model. My point was about the principle of access, not about the principle of charging. I have another argument about this which I have laboured elsewhere.

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by shanclan » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:30 pm

We could have a proper debate about charging if we knew how much the site costs to rent, how much the water costs, how much the commercial activity generates and what else is spent (all of these on CW members behalf). Unfortunately we don't for some reason....

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Re: Well Done Canoe Wales!

Post by Kayacb » Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:43 am

Well done folks.... good news completely derailed. The fluff chuckers must be pissing in their waders if we can't even agree between ourselves. Why are kayakers (generally affluent, educated middle class wallys) so bloody tight they don't want to contribute to the upkeep of a completely man made facility, which requires a qualified person to get out of their bed on a Sunday (I doubt it's simply turning on a tap) to enable us to enjoy our past time. There's vehicles, wages, insurances, vegetation management, plus the cost of setting everything up. And so what if they make a profit. The more they make the more they can do for you! Right. No more UKRGB for this year!

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