A message to paddlers from the WCA Board

Inland paddling
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Pam Bell
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A message to paddlers from the WCA Board

Post by Pam Bell » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:32 pm

Press release below:

Welsh Canoeing Association
16th July 2008
Welsh Canoeing Association announces that paddling is free at the National White Water Centre.
The WCA Board is happy to announce that charges for recreational kayaking and canoeing have been removed at the National White Water Centre located near Bala. Chairman of the WCA Board, Phil Blain outlined “The WCA has made this positive decision in the interests of the sport and in support of the WCA’s push towards a resolution of the access position in Wales”.
“We have shown that even intensively used sites such as this can be managed successfully for the sport and recreation of canoeing in a positive and environmentally friendly manner” said Mr Blain. “It was felt that the Tryweryn is no different to any other river in Wales and that it was essential for canoeing to maintain parity with other similar outdoor activities like Walking and Cycling. WCA feel that any notion of charging for access to the water was unacceptable, much as it is unacceptable to charge for recreation on other natural resources.” he added.
The Centre will remain an operational facility of excellence. It will continue to provide White Water Rafting, Coaching and Rescue Courses and host both National and International competitions under a managed programme.
Paddlers will still need to register at Centre’s reception before taking to the water, but from now canoeists and kayakers will be able to paddle for free.
Site availability will continue to depend on the managed programme of events and exclusive use will be required to meet the needs of competition and coaching operations.
The WCA acknowledges that the provision of genuine facilities that enable canoeists to take to the water such as car parks and changing rooms are something that paddlers would pay for as would payment for exclusive use of a site for competitive events or training. However, payment for linear access along water is not acceptable.
Paul O’Sullivan, Centre Director added “Historically the centre spends about £30,000 a year on purchasing water releases to enable activities to take place on the river. We will continue to secure releases allowing the site to be used in a predictable and sustainable way. We will not be differentiating between releases that we have purchased over those made available through the operational needs of the Environment Agency. Canoeing and kayaking will be free of charge in both cases. We will continue to provide the excellent range of services that our users have come to expect from the centre”
Phil Blain concluded “This is a large investment in the sport. It is hoped that paddlers will recognise this and support the WCA in its aims. WCA will still need investment to maintain the facilities at the centre and the charging structure for facilities is being re-modelled. Paddlers are encouraged to join the Association as supporter members. All voluntary donations for the upkeep of this gem of a site are welcome”

Notes:
Daily information is available at reception. Listed below are some guidance notes for assistance. All profits from the running of the National White Water Centre are invested into the development of paddle sport in Wales

Is this for the Whole of the River?
Yes.
There is no differentiation between the top site and Lower River. The lower river remains an unmanaged “wild” section of river. There is no agreed access/egress point between the centre’s boundaries and the take out point in the public car park in Bala.

Who does this apply to?
All recreational canoeists and kayakers who paddle at the centre. If exclusive use of particular sections of the river is required for events or training then a charge will still be made for that exclusive use.
This does not affect white water rafting clients who already get full use of the centres facilities as part of their rafting session.

Do I still need to sign on?
Yes – The centre remains a managed facility and users need to be aware of and consent to the conditions of use and sign to say they are competent to paddle. If you are under the age of 18 then your parent or guardian will have to sign you in at reception.
Paddlers will have to sign in at each visit.

What about exclusive use for events and training?
There will be a full programme of events and courses running and some of these activities will require and be provided with excusive use of sections of the water. Daily information is available at reception.

Have the terms or conditions changed for paddling at the centre?
The only change is that canoeists and kayakers will not be charged for using the centres facilities.

Can I get on the river anywhere?
Currently access is from the Centre’s landholding only. Egress is at the car park in Bala. The upper site has access provided and signed alongside the bank. From the lower limits of the Centre to Bala there are no agreed access/egress points and paddlers must respect local landowners’ wishes. There are details in the centre about portage arrangements around Bala Mill Falls which will be updated as improvements are made over the coming months.
Details of access and egress are available at reception and it is the responsibility of the individual user to make certain they know where they can and can’t use the land by the river.

When can I paddle?
Whenever the centre is open for normal operations and there is sufficient water being released from the Llyn Celyn dam by the Environment Agency. The centre reserves the right to close the access to the river in the event of competitions, events, emergencies and environmental issues such as Foot and Mouth.

I have a season ticket – will I get a refund?
If you wish to receive a refund, this will be available on a pro rata basis. Season tickets which do not request a refund can be assured that the balance of funds will be spent on the development of the centre and canoesport in Wales.

What about coaching groups?
Coached groups will also be able to access the river free of charge.
Coaches will still need to sign their group at reception and be suitably qualified to work on the site and meet the centre’s health and safety requirements.
If a coached group wished to hire classroom facilities of exclusive/shared use of a river section this will continue to be charged for and needs to be booked in advance.

What about payment at other sites?
WCA cannot dictate the operations of other sites. As with any sport, participants need to familiarise themselves with the terms of each site they visit.

Can I make a contribution to the costs of maintaining the facility?
Yes – you can join as a WCA Supporter Member online here:
http://www.welsh-canoeing.org.uk/member ... ership.htm
This category is open to all.
Or you can make a voluntary contribution to the costs of providing the centre’s facilities when at the centre. All profits from the running of the National White Water Centre are invested into the development of paddle sport in Wales
Last edited by Pam Bell on Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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TheKrikkitWars
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Post by TheKrikkitWars » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:41 pm

You lovely people at the WCA have vastly exceeded my expectations and I'm sure those of many others.

I'm definately feeling the NGB love today! Image
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David Fairweather
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Post by David Fairweather » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:43 pm

That is fantastic news, thank you and well done to all involved in taking that decision. This helps make the WCA policy on access to rivers far more consistent.

I'm just going to join as a supporter member now.

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paddlersteve
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Post by paddlersteve » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:43 pm

Did I not see that coming!

Great call! Great value for me, even better for a co-ordinated approach to the access campaign. Moving to Wales just got even better!

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kayak kaos
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Post by kayak kaos » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:44 pm

What a positive move for the sport by the WCA!

Well done, it must have been a difficult decision to make.
Cheers for now,
Colin.

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Jim Pullen
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Post by Jim Pullen » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:46 pm

Wow! I was considering joining as a WCA supporter anyway, I think you've just made my mind up for me!

I'm surprised WCA have been able to afford to scrap this charge, is this because the bulk of the turnover was taken from rafting anyway?

Once again - well done WCA!
Done any NE/NW rivers not on the site? PM me!

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aleeivel
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Post by aleeivel » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:52 pm

Wow, I never expected this... Maybe all our comments on here may have had some impact after all...

Good on the WCA for doing the right thing, lets see the BCU as a whole take the right road...
Andy Lee
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Jonny Bravo
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Post by Jonny Bravo » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:53 pm

That's unbelievable

Absolutely fantastic - well done the WCA

Craig

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Dave @ TRC
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Post by Dave @ TRC » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:54 pm

Wow great news


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Peter Holgate
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Post by Peter Holgate » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:54 pm

Wow!

Is there any way that paddlers without a Welsh address can join the WCA ?

Such a refreshing change from the BCU attitude.

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pwilkinson
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Post by pwilkinson » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:59 pm

Peter Holgate wrote: Is there any way that paddlers without a Welsh address can join the WCA ?
WCA wrote:you can join as a WCA Supporter Member online here:
http://www.welsh-canoeing.org.uk/member ... ership.htm
This category is open to all.
Well done WCA, great news.
Last edited by pwilkinson on Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by clarky999 » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:59 pm

Awesome news - well done to the WCA! As Krikkit said, you've far and away exceeded my expectations!

Jules
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Post by Jules » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:01 pm

Thank you


Jules

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phil_grice
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Post by phil_grice » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:02 pm

Great news!
The WCA acknowledges that the provision of genuine facilities that enable canoeists to take to the water such as car parks and changing rooms are something that paddlers would pay for
Does this mean that there will be a charge for parking etc? I couldn't see anything in the statemant relating to this but I would have assumed there would still be a charge for these. It only seems fair. There will obviously be a pretty big loss of revenue from this decision.

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Post by Jules » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:06 pm

aleeivel wrote:Wow, I never expected this... Maybe all our comments on here may have had some impact after all...
I can assure you that comments on here have been listened to.
Thanks to all who wrote to the WCA regarding this issue too.

This is a bold move by the WCA, but very much the right move. Well done to all those who have had the balls to make this decision.


Jules

garya
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Post by garya » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:12 pm

wow thats fantastic...

thank you very much to the WCA board members who got this voted in.

I will continue to buy breakfast and lunch to support the cafe and make a donation when visiting just to make sure the great staff and facility is avaliable in years to come for future paddlers.

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Ed Lefley
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Post by Ed Lefley » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:13 pm

As I'm fortunate in that my employer pays my BCU membership, the money that I would have paid out of my own pocket will now be going to the WCA for that brilliant move.

Thanks WCA for moving the campaign forwards, and for taking such a positive step forwards!

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phil_grice
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Post by phil_grice » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:14 pm

Well done to all those who have had the balls to make this decision.
Agreed! I didn't renew my BCU membership this year because I don't feel they're representative of recreational paddlers. I'll now be spending that money on a WCA Supporter's membership. It's great to see such forward thinking.

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meatballs
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Post by meatballs » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:19 pm

Good move, I have always thought that having to pay to paddle the Tryweryn wasn't quite inline with other policies.

I'm not sure how exclusive access to the river for some paying groups fits in with it however..?
Ben

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Rick Foster
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Post by Rick Foster » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:20 pm

Absolutly Fantastic news!!!!

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iainporter
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Post by iainporter » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:22 pm

Awesome. Just had an email from the WCA saying "You might be interested in this post on ukrivers..."

Top marks, WCA, this is excellent news.

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Grumpy Fisherman
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Post by Grumpy Fisherman » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:25 pm

Fantastic news. Congratulations to the WCA for leading the way.

Robson
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Post by Robson » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:34 pm

Well done and thanks to the WCA

Great News.
Can't think of anything to say in less than 50 cha

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Post by Matt R » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:41 pm

Wow, thanks guys, that's excellent news!

RustySub
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Post by RustySub » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:43 pm

Hah sods law, i was up ther yesterday and payed. But nice one to all those involved in making the move! Great idea!

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Post by Slime » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:54 pm

All congratulations to the board of the WCA for such a forward thinking and pro-active idea. Also quite courageous.

Yet again the the WCA leads the way and sets an outstanding example of a well thought out policy that is clearly what its members want.

Canoe England (please dont call them the BCU) - isnt it time to wake up out of your access torpor?

Pete Knowles.

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Rhod
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Post by Rhod » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:57 pm

Excellent news! That is a brilliant decision with relation to the development of new paddlers in and around Wales. CT really does now have the potential to be the home of paddle-sport in Wales at all levels.

So whilst thinking of ways to make up the extra money, what would be the logistics of a bar on site for the evenings: 'The Get-Inn'? I bet a small amount of accommodation would also be popular. Just imagining what my ideal ‘home of kayaking’ would look like :+). Well done again people.
Rhodri Anderson

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waverley610
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Post by waverley610 » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:57 pm

Thank you WCA.

Tryweryn discount was a high factor for renewing my BCU membership each year. One reason less.

Chas

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peakfreak
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Post by peakfreak » Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:04 pm

RustySub wrote:Hah sods law, I was up ther yesterday and payed. But nice one to all those involved in making the move! Great idea!
Ditto... I just bought my BCU membership on Monday in order to pay the lower rate at CT.

Ho Hum! Never mind though, stonking news and many thanks to the WCA for this.
Come on BCU/CE get a grip and follow this with some positive action and support the recreational paddlers out here.

RustySub
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Post by RustySub » Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:16 pm

I signed on at 12pm GMT, can anyone beat that? Or does that make me the last paying kayaker on Tryweryn? Finally a claim to fame I think.

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