CT Access Policy - A WCA contradiction

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Martyn Read
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Post by Martyn Read »

steddyjames wrote:I haven't read anything above that convinces me we shouldn't pay to paddle at CT..
The issue is not whether we should or shouldn't pay for the use of CT. Personally I think that a small fee is appropriate given the facilities provided.

This question is what are we paying for? As has been said before, if we are paying for access to the river then this directly contravenes WCA policy and needs to be sorted asap.

All that needs to happen is for the WCA to clarify what we are actually paying for (parking etc), and make that crystal clear to all visitors. The problem is that whether the case or not, the WCA are not percieved to be practicing what they preach.

Martyn
Last edited by Martyn Read on Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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steddyjames
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Post by steddyjames »

Jules wrote: Your love for CT.....
I just had to quote that separately because it made me chuckle!!
Jules wrote: but if you want free access to all Welsh rivers, you had better hope that the WCA see sense and stop charging for river access.
And that's what I disagree with. I think maybe you might be a bit too caught up in this to get the bigger picture as I'm guessing you might be close to CT?

The only reason this will become an issue is if paddlers make it an issue.

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Martyn Read
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Post by Martyn Read »

steddyjames wrote:The only reason this will become an issue is if paddlers make it an issue.
Or if the general public or those not sympathetic to our campaign notice.

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wiresno2
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CT

Post by wiresno2 »

Personally I think that a small fee is appropriate given the facilities
A small fee is not £15 a day for non BCU or WCA members

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RichA
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Post by RichA »

If I was told I was paying for parking, showers, changing rooms etc etc but NOT river access I would be happy. I don't mind paying for facilities that I use - that's pretty much the point of them! What I won't pay for is to paddle a river.

But not at £15 a pop! I don't agree with the BCU's practice so am not a member. I've been lead to believe I can't join the WCA as I don't have a Welsh address. What's a man to do!?

The problem I have is that the facilities extend into the river too, ie slalom poles, artificial waves etc etc. I am also happy to pay for these at CT.

I would never pay to paddle the lower section as I would not use CT's car park or other facilities and there are no intentional modifications to the river bed. I would of course pay for the car park at the bottom. This extends to any other river I paddle.

I am not paying for the water release. Who owns the water? Nobody? Oh, what a surprise!

BUT! There are slalom poles on the lower section that I might occasionally have a blast around. Should I be paying for these!? I don't know! I assume they are funded by the local club that use them. Does that mean I'm taking the piss if I have a quick play with them?

So many questions. Find a philosophist! Quickly! I think my brain might explode. Oh well, back to my TEM lab...
Last edited by RichA on Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Martyn Read
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Re: CT

Post by Martyn Read »

wiresno2 wrote:
Personally I think that a small fee is appropriate given the facilities
A small fee is not £15 a day for non BCU or WCA members
I agree, but what the value of the actual charge is superfluous to this thread.

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steddyjames
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Post by steddyjames »

Martyn Read wrote:
steddyjames wrote:I haven't read anything above that convinces me we shouldn't pay to paddle at CT..
The issue is not whether we should or shouldn't pay for the use of CT. Personally I think that a small fee is appropriate given the facilities provided.

This question is what are we paying for? As has been said before, if we are paying for access to the river then this directly contravenes WCA policy and needs to be sorted asap.

All that needs to happen is for the WCA to clarify what we are actually paying for (parking etc), and make that crystal clear to all visitors. The problem is that whether the case or not, the WCA are not percieved to be practicing what they preach.

Martyn
I do understand the argument. I just don't agree.

Anyhoo, I don't think I can add anymore (debateable I added anything at all I know) so I'll leave you to discuss this with the WCA. I genuinely wish you good luck with the access battle.

SJ

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Post by TonyM »

On a practical note, does the funding derived from CT allow access related works to go on that otherwise wouldnt?

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Post by jamesl2play »

I am with steddyjames on this one, CT is a facility so it is different to the lower section, but I can understand why you do not see it as one.

I'll also agree to disagree with a friendly smile and wish you luck.

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Post by clarky999 »

Because without CT the river would still be there to paddle, whereas other facilities like HPP wouldn't - they required funding to build them.

Jules, I see what you mean now, and I aggree with your point. Maybe an 'honest box' type thing that paddlers could make a donation towards the upkeep of CT facilities (if they wished) would be more appropriate than a charge? Bit of a loophole?
Last edited by clarky999 on Tue Oct 16, 2007 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by jamesl2play »

I am sure you don't want me to take up space on the board by repeating myself.

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Post by clarky999 »

Oh sorry I (somehow) managed to get confused on what you meant... must be tired or something lol. Sorry about that one mate. I've deleted the quote.

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Chris W
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Post by Chris W »

Jules, to re-cap, are you saying that you're happy to pay the £7, just so long as the WCA changes the name of the charge from a 'water' to, say, a 'facilities' charge? (facilities that are, with the private car parks and access roads, cafe and changing rooms, pretty self evident).

Is that it? Would that make you happy?

Chris W.

(the honesty box idea is an amusing one- knowing the boating community it'd soon be covered in cob webs).

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Post by Jules »

Knees wrote:Jules, to re-cap, are you saying that you're happy to pay the £7, just so long as the WCA changes the name of the charge from a 'water' to, say, a 'facilities' charge? (facilities that are, with the private car parks and access roads, cafe and changing rooms, pretty self evident).

Is that it? Would that make you happy?

Chris W.

(the honesty box idea is an amusing one- knowing the boating community it'd soon be covered in cob webs).
Pretty much, yes, so long as it was clear that the cost of the ticket had nothing to do with anyone's right to paddle the river. I think that is all it would take to safeguard the WCA against accusations of double standards by the 'anti' lobby.

Unfortunately things are never quite that simple, as such a change then leads to the question of how many paddlers would choose not to pay the 'facilities' charge and exercise their right to paddle the river for free? You laugh at the honesty box idea but that is effectively what the scheme would become, and I agree that some paddlers would choose not to participate.
I'm afraid I don't have the answer as to how to ensure that CTs income doesn't drop. I don't have enough information about the centre to be able to offer any informed ideas of generating revenue from other avenues, but there will be ways (I was told today that in excess of 40,000 people visit the centre each year who never get on the water, and currently they contribute nothing more than what they spend in the cafe!) and the centre will not close, or scale down, or fall into disrepair. It is a well run business and, like all well run businesses, it will adapt to change and continue.


Jules

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Big Henry
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Post by Big Henry »

iainporter wrote:...if I wanted to use the changing rooms, I'd pay for that too (I don't use them, generally). I use the cafe when I'm there.
Isn't that a bit unhygenic? And wouldn't it put people off their food/drinks? ;->

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Post by iainporter »

I generally try to hide behind the cakes so as not to upset anyone :-)

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Post by cswalker »

Jules wrote:I'm afraid I don't have the answer as to how to ensure that CTs income doesn't drop. I don't have enough information about the centre to be able to offer any informed ideas of generating revenue from other avenues, but there will be ways (I was told today that in excess of 40,000 people visit the centre each year who never get on the water, and currently they contribute nothing more than what they spend in the cafe!) and the centre will not close, or scale down, or fall into disrepair. It is a well run business and, like all well run businesses, it will adapt to change and continue.


Jules
That's ok, as far as I understand, CT hiked the rent on the running of the cafe for the very original and longest members of the Afon Tryweryn centre staffing, so much so that they retired for the centre to now rent out the cafe 'internally' to at a better rate and with direct income thus cashing directly in on the 40,000 non water users!!

A real shame since they were around at the time when 99% of paddlers will have never remembered or seen the centre - with the original portcabins / trailers and not much more. Sure I am sure people will remark that those cafe owners were grumpy, wouldn't you be under the pressure of your lease being harder and harder to fulfill financially and contractually!

However despite my opinions the past and present staff have and do ensure fantastic world class facilities that need funding somehow and represent the leading edge in whitewater activities in the UK, Gorman, Oz, Skinny, Gez, as with past staff of Loel, Lee, Timms and those before have phenominal worldwide experience and that does come at a cost, along with running a world class facility day to day!

Really though, changing the title of why the charge is there, is that really going to satisfy everyone, crap!

This is a hard topic that I do not know the answer to!

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RichA
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Post by RichA »

Perhaps Jules, it would be beneficial for us to see the breakdown of the costs of what a day ticket price goes towards? If it was simply for changing rooms/shower/building repairs/car parking and river bed modifications we would all be happy bunnies?

If, as I understand it, you and others (myself included) are not willing to pay for river access, maybe directly asking CT if we are paying for river access would be the best step now? Rather than coming up with a million 'maybes', we should ask it straight from the horses mouth.

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Post by caveman_si »

Jules wrote:
The Tryweryn would exist regardless of whether CT existed.
Which sums it up I think. I like others am happy to pay for parking and the facilities I use but not access. So make all the car parks pay and display so everyone using the site pays regardless of what they do. eg £5 half day £10 full day. Then make a seperate charge for those wanting to use the showers/changing facilities, eg £2 per person.


As I understand it the river is mainly managed for environmental benefits. Although small changes have been made for slalom if it didnt pass muster on an eco level then it wouldnt happen.
The EA maintain a compensatory release all the time to ensure there is water in the river. ON top of that there is more water released for abstraction further down the river. Water is also released on the say so of the EA Flood risk management team for any number of reasons including too much water behind the dam or predicted to be behind the dam.
CT also PAY for a set number of releases in the year (circa £250k I think but I could be wrong) and this allows them to plan and run rafting trips which is their bussiness. A large number of the releases are "Free" ie controled by the EA for what ever reason they want and my taxes have already paid to ensure they happen and are managed. So why do I have to pay again?

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Horses for courses....

Post by chriscw »

I see NO problem with paying for access where a management service is provided, whether to the waterway or of associated facilities. Obvious examples being canals which are entirely artificial, managed waterways like the Thames, white water courses Like the Nene HPP etc and even places where landowners are taking steps to facilitate access to waterways via their land. Clearly the charge must bear some relation to the work put in on our behalf by the body making the charge.

It follows that there is absolutely no contradiction in then asking for free access to all natural waterways where there is no compelling reason to refuse it. Free access would normally but NOT always mean free of charge.

People who proudly boast that they would always refuse to pay are in my opinion as daft and dangerous as those idiots who proudly boast that they never signal right or use the right hand lane on a roundabout! Sometimes it is right to pay, of course I want the payments to be quite small otherwise I can't afford them!
Chris Clarke-Williams
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Touring, Coaching Beginners (I am an L2K), Surf White water trips, Weir Play (I'm not good enough to put freestyle!)

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steddyjames
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Post by steddyjames »

caveman_si wrote:
Jules wrote:
The Tryweryn would exist regardless of whether CT existed.
Which sums it up I think.
....but would be unpaddleable for the majority of the time due to lack of water and unpredictable releases. So maybe the Tryweryn damp riverbed would exist regardless of whether CT existed, but would be hardly paddled.

Instead we have a year round paddling facility. I'm happy to pay for that.

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Post by Grumpy old man »

steddyjames wrote:
caveman_si wrote:
Jules wrote:
The Tryweryn would exist regardless of whether CT existed.
Which sums it up I think.
....but would be unpaddleable for the majority of the time due to lack of water and unpredictable releases. So maybe the Tryweryn damp riverbed would exist regardless of whether CT existed, but would be hardly paddled.

Instead we have a year round paddling facility. I'm happy to pay for that.
No the river would still release whether CT was there or not that's what it is designed to do. As far as predictability goes, all we have is a relay system of communication with Technology nowadays that shouldn't cost anything, it should be a free service provided by the EA/WCA. As far as in river features ,in my opinion, it was better 25 years ago, certainly more of a challenge. With exception to the play spots ( the top one I've never been able to use because it's always been closed for courses) all the other features have been changed for Rafting. I'm not sure but I get the feeling that all the other buildings ,changing rooms. and class rooms have been built for rafters and self funding courses, None of which change the nature of the lower river but your still asked to pay your access fee before boating on that.Now if I have to pay £7/14 just for launching on CT controlled land then it seems a bit rich for WCA to be campaigning for free access. If and when we are successful will we have to pay launching fee's on all Welsh rivers.If the governing body for canoeing are charging why shouldn't all the landowners including the local councils who are riparian owners.
Yes we might win free access but we can't afford to get on the rivers.
I don't know the answer to the problem but maybe if they started giving free access to the lower river it might be a start.

Grumpy
(Lloyd)

Rant, rant.

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RichA
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Post by RichA »

Morriston, Gary etc?

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Post by jaq »

I have always been on the opinon that I am paying for the water release and facilities, even if I don't use the facilities I can't justifiably avoid the fee as I thought it covered the release too.

CT obviously do put work and money into securing the release dates - so would it not be easier just to say the fee covers release and facilities (even if the release is only a small part of it) - this way even if you aren't using the facilities you are still using the release - therefore can't argue you shouldn't have to pay because you aren't using their changing rooms (and lets be fair, if they said they where charging for facilities how many of us would argue we aren't using them and get on for free?).

Everyone wins (except the tight fisted) - we aren't paying for access, we are paying for the release and the facilities - we can't dodge paying justifiably because no matter what we are still using the release so CT aren't losing out on revenue - and there's no contradiction in the WCA policy.

Yes CT charge a lot, and aside from the fact that it's irrelivent to this arguement, does it not go to things that benefit all of us?

RE not wanting to join the BCU and being unable to join the WCA - I believe you can now join as an 'access supporter' or something similar, regardless of where you live, with your money going to the WCA access campaign and the benefits include the reduction at CT.

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steddyjames
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Post by steddyjames »

Grumpy old man wrote: No the river would still release whether CT was there or not that's what it is designed to do. As far as predictability goes, all we have is a relay system of communication with Technology nowadays that shouldn't cost anything, it should be a free service provided by the EA/WCA. As far as in river features ,in my opinion, it was better 25 years ago, certainly more of a challenge. With exception to the play spots ( the top one I've never been able to use because it's always been closed for courses) all the other features have been changed for Rafting.
Hey Lloyd, Steve here, which I assume you've guessed. I don't disagree the river may have been better (being 30 now I didn't paddle it 25yrs ago so don't actually know).

I guess I'm just not seeing the link between paying for a managed centre and how this links to paying for access to paddle a natural river. To be honest if it was free access with predictable water releases that would be great, just don't know if that's really feasible.

Anyhoo, hope all is well up in the Tyne Valley.

SJ

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Post by caveman_si »

steddyjames wrote: ....but would be unpaddleable for the majority of the time due to lack of water and unpredictable releases. So maybe the Tryweryn damp riverbed would exist regardless of whether CT existed, but would be hardly paddled.

Instead we have a year round paddling facility. I'm happy to pay for that.
I beg to differ that it would be unpaddleable due to lack of water. Regardless of what happens at CT the resevoir has to release a certain amount of water at certain times. The amount of water means that has to be release means by its very nature that it will be paddleable. The amount of water being released is usually considerable and is at a paddlable level for quite a while 6-10 hrs at a time as you can only relase so much water at a time with out damaging the system. So it is possible to find out if it is at a paddlable level, travel there and paddle all in the same day (assumiong you live 2-4 hrs drive away).
Also its not that unpredictable to guess roughly when its going to be releaseing. As I understand it major planned releases are planned for 6-12 months inadvance (with freedom of information requests maybe you could find out when or just being nice and asking the EA might get the dates for you). Then the amounts released daily is decided weekly in advance and depends on resevoir levels, down stream levels, predicted abstraction levels and predicted weather condition. Sure getting all the information is tricky but I would guesss pretty much a set fomula the combines the above.

But Compare this to the washburn. Everyone pays a few pound to use the carpark and toilet there if they use to the top section but not if they paddle lower down and use the public facilities. Its an all year round release and a managed site (albeit in a limited fashion).

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Post by Grumpy old man »

[quote
RE not wanting to join the BCU and being unable to join the WCA - I believe you can now join as an 'access supporter' or something similar, regardless of where you live, with your money going to the WCA access campaign and the benefits include the reduction at CT.[/quote]

Mmmm! the plot thickens, you can pay to become an 'access supporter' to campaign for free access which gives you reduction on your access fees...! I hope this isn't true.

jaq
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Post by jaq »

Haha! I never thought of it like that.... But it's ok, I maintain I'm paying for the water release in order to prevent my head from becoming confused.

Here it is: http://www.welsh-canoeing.org.uk/access ... rocess.htm

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Post by Jules »

Grumpy old man wrote:
RE not wanting to join the BCU and being unable to join the WCA - I believe you can now join as an 'access supporter' or something similar, regardless of where you live, with your money going to the WCA access campaign and the benefits include the reduction at CT.
Mmmm! the plot thickens, you can pay to become an 'access supporter' to campaign for free access which gives you reduction on your access fees...! I hope this isn't true.

Absolutely brilliant!!!

Jules

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Post by hhzoombird »

Its not hard to get money out of me to do with kayaking. Because
a) I'm addicted
b) I don't check my bank statements

But it does, philosophically, matter what its called and what its for.
caveman_si wrote:like others am happy to pay for parking and the facilities I use but not access. So make all the car parks pay and display so everyone using the site pays regardless of what they do. eg £5 half day £10 full day. Then make a seperate charge for those wanting to use the showers/changing facilities, eg £2 per person.
This would seem reasonable. £3 special deal of a shower-and-hot-chocolate would sell it to me.

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