Can we afford to lose Nottingham's HPP whitewater course?

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Old Coach
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Post by Old Coach » Mon Aug 04, 2008 8:21 pm

From what I've heard the biggest consequence of these proposals will be felt when Leisure Connections (the management company) contract ends fairly imminently and control reverts to Nottingham Borough Council who will inherit a complete white elephant. The only remaining users - World Class will move to Broxbourne when it opens and the course will be filled in as a far cheaper option than taking out the concrete backfill.

I presume Leisure Connections have little interest in the present debate as they will get sufficient income from World Class so maybe Nottingham BC need to be made aware of their future inheritance.

Mind you they too may not care as there have already been plenty of rumours about them redeveloping the whole site so this may play straight into their hands.

Surely there must be a way of laying a separation membrane under the new concrete so it can be broken out later? Just thinking ahead as World Class seem to have a long established habit of riding roughshod over other users.

Apparently there is to be a design meeting on August 11th followed by a Public Consultation on MONDAY 18th August (to minimise the number of attendees?) at HP These both to be chaired by Chris Hawkesworth, Planning and Facilities Manager, Canoe England.

OC

ChrisMac
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Post by ChrisMac » Mon Aug 04, 2008 8:31 pm

email sent. I have also sent one to my local councillor in Nottingham and my MP. Any extra help cant hurt.

Mac

Old Coach
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Post by Old Coach » Mon Aug 04, 2008 8:32 pm

By the way - Penrith only has one feature suitable for freestyle (I've been there) and according to the Dutch team Dutch Water Dreams is too shallow.

OC

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Post by jmmoxon » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:47 pm

Nottingham County Council's take on the future:

http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/home/ ... repont.htm

Mike

peteV
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Post by peteV » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:29 pm

RichA wrote:As a random point, will a refund be given to those who have recently purchased season tickets to use the course, only to find out it will be shut for 3 months? I feel they should have been made aware of the potential problem of the course being shut before they paid.
I'll be recommending people new to the uni club this year check this out before purchasing a season ticket, but does anyone know the answer to this at the moment? Ta
hey rich, i'd guess you'd at least have an arguement for a 25% refund on the season ticket if its shut for 3 months, (if my maths is right) seems reasonable enough to expect it as well

how certain is this november date?

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Pete C.
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Post by Pete C. » Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:28 am

Slaphappy wrote:There is probably room for manouver at this stage. Perhaps they are just doing foundation work and then will get people involved, who represents white water kayakers and freestylers / squirters etc at the bcu, are they not the point of contact for all concerns?
Hi Slaphappy - that's exactly what we're after, but it's not what we're getting. I mentioned in the original post how we found out that work will start in December. It wasn't through the HPP users' forum but through a chance conversation with one of the slalomists at the course.

Clear and open consultation would be great, but it isn't happening, which is what this is really about.

(And, as an aside, if you're open to having your mind changed about HPP, visit the annual squirtfest in a couple of weeks. It would be great to see you there.)

Old Coach - Notts County Council now know about our concerns. The important thing for them is the course stays profitable for rafting.

Rich - refund? No idea. I've got an Elite pass until April so I bloody well hope so.

We've had huge support so far - the lack of consultation has really got people riled. If you've already pledged your support, thank you! It would be great if you could spread the news to two more people - ideally BCU/ECA/WCA/SCA/CANI members - so we can really pick up some momentum here!

Cheers,

Pete C.

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BenW
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Post by BenW » Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:31 am

I have been lucky enough to paddle at the penrith course twice now [for about a month in total], and it is OK, nothing for freestyle, not much for river running and to correct Pete, the freestyle feature that held the world champs was acually built specifically for the competition.

They took a jcb and jack hammers to the course and dug a very big hole which they then lined with concrete - and that was still too shallow...

Ben
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james c
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Post by james c » Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:12 am

Who is actually responsible for making these changes then? From what you have said Pete I understand that it is BCU world class who are dictating what the changes will be, but they do not actually own the course, so it must be either Leisure connection or the council who are agreing to it.

Over the last year or so at HPP there has been a definite swing away from the priorities of elite athletes and toards making HPP a commercialy viable site. Unfortunately World class still seem to be able to bully through their ideas a lot of the time but that still doesnt change the fact that they contribute virtually nothing financially and the biggest money earner by a long way is rafting. To be honest I doubt that anyone at the centre could really care less about the average paddler at HPP but if these changes looked like they may threaten the quality/safety of the rafting then they will be genuinley worried. The safety implications of these 'omniflots' (due to the depth of water) that are already installed and slalom poles already take up about 90% of the agenda in any meeting regarding the slalom course. Also, without any waves or holes it will be virtually impossible to run an enjoyable rafting session.

Like others have said, if there's anything I can do to assist then just give me a call Pete!

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Jack Butcher
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Post by Jack Butcher » Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:39 am

Email sent.

If the local boaters could sit down with the devlopers / decision makers over a beer you could suggest that they include some top class waves and holes in the new plan?

The pre layed out email link worked a treat ;-)
good luck.

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Slaphappy
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Post by Slaphappy » Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:20 am

Hey Pete,
Clear and open consultation would be great, but it isn't happening, which is what this is really about.
I couldn't agree more, this seems to be indicative of the BCU and I am really surprised that no representative has been on this site to air a view or openly invite anyone for consultation, but if they are not wholly responsible for the action taking place then we can not vent directly to them, it must be aimed at the current manager and future operaters. Who is the chairman of the BCU? What is their email address?

Just a thought, is the BCU a charitable organisation? if so then it might be against thier charitable status to NOT include consultation with their members, when is the annual meeting?

At this point you have to ask yourself whether the BCU is correctly reflecting it's members across the sport, yet again it brings concerns about their involvement across all disciplines, do they really care about any paddler who is not in an olympic sport? Or are they being led by the operaters of the site?
(And, as an aside, if you're open to having your mind changed about HPP, visit the annual squirtfest in a couple of weeks. It would be great to see you there.)
I am always up for having my mind changed but you have an uphill battle :-) Thanks for the invite I will see if i can make it but looking unlikely at this stage.

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Pete the kayaker
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Post by Pete the kayaker » Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:52 am

Slaphappy wrote:Hey Pete,
Clear and open consultation would be great, but it isn't happening, which is what this is really about.
I couldn't agree more, this seem to me to be indicative of the BCU and I am really surprised that no representative has been on this site to air a view or openly invite anyone for consultation, but if they are not wholly responsible for the action taking place then we can not vent directly to them, it must be aimed at the current manager and future operaters. Who is the chairman of the BCU? What is their email address?
Unfortunately I do not share your surprise, the BCU, it seems to me, is entirely for the benefit of the traditional competitive disciplines (i.e. Slalom, Sprint and Marathon) and everybody else can go hang. They'll look down their nose at you because freestyle isn't a "proper" Olympic sport but continue to fleece you rotten in every way imaginable - Too cynical, you think? Wait until you see the arrogance inherent in their response.
Slaphappy wrote:Just a thought, is the BCU a charitable organisation? if so then it might be against thier charitable status to NOT include consultation with their members, when is the annual meeting?
The BCU is a registered company, owned by its members. However it rarely seems to represent the majority of the member's interests (Which IMHO is appalling for a governing body) as it is effectively run by a cartel within that are very good at blocking any challenge to their power (ask James F as I believe he once tried).
Slaphappy wrote:At this point you have to ask yourself whether the BCU is correctly reflecting it's members across the sport, yet again it brings concerns about their involvement across all disciplines, do they really care about any paddler who is not in an olympic sport? Or are they being led by the operaters of the site?
Very pertinent questions, on past experience, I remain sceptical, but, Pete C, I do hope you are successful as HPP has provided me with a good facility on the water in the past and I (and others I know who use it) would hate to see it made into just another slalom course.
*Fringe Extremist*

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SANDY0728
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Post by SANDY0728 » Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:32 pm

If its EPD doing the design then there might be some hope as its run by a group of boaters.
Hopefully they will/would voice some of the concerns.

Shown my support.

Sandy.

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Edwindle
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Post by Edwindle » Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:35 pm

Nottingham County Council's take on the future:

http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/home/ ... repont.htm

Mike
Went on there and read about the survey; the wasnt an option to develop hpp into an even better whitewater centre



Edit: sorry my mistake, sports village seems to be that

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Slaphappy
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Post by Slaphappy » Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:25 pm

Pete the Kayaker,
Unfortunately I do not share your surprise, the BCU, it seems to me, is entirely for the benefit of the traditional competitive disciplines (I.e. Slalom, Sprint and Marathon) and everybody else can go hang. They'll look down their nose at you because freestyle isn't a "proper" Olympic sport but continue to fleece you rotten in every way imaginable - Too cynical, you think? Wait until you see the arrogance inherent in their response.
Agreed, the longer I am a member the more i question the reason for this, as to date I have not renewed my membership for the year as it seems utterly pointless. I am wondering why poeple are members at all, especially clubs who many see no benefit what-so-ever. I would like the chairmans email to see a reply.
The BCU is a registered company, owned by its members. However it rarely seems to represent the majority of the member's interests (Which IMHO is appalling for a governing body) as it is effectively run by a cartel within that are very good at blocking any challenge to their power (ask James F as I believe he once tried).
So would that make us equal share holders on receipt of membership? in which case how about a vote of no confidance against the board, 51% is all it takes. Do you know where you can view their mems, articles of association incorporation? Could make an interesting read.

Perhaps now is the time to setup a new body for those interested in other aspects to kayaking that are definatly not on the olympic register. Whitewater / Creeking / Freestyle and Squirt. It could be set up as a co-operative so each member has an equal share to the next.

What are people joining the BCU for? I have no idea the only thing I joined for was water licence for thames and third party insurance until I found I dont need water liscence for thames as I do not pass through locks and my house insurance covers me third party liability. A distraction to the thread but none the less relevant.

Pete C, I do hope you are successful
Echo'd.

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Admiral Robert
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Post by Admiral Robert » Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:37 pm

Well done for bringing this to peoples attention, Pete.

I was actually speaking to someone at the County Council, who I know through work, about the future of HPP a couple of months back. I got the impression that they really don’t know what to do with it, but were hoping that a private company would take it off their hands and do something exciting with it (like an Xscape). Alternatively, they’d be unwilling to fund a sports facility that is not specifically for locals.

I’m not at all surprised by the proposals really. There’s lots of funding about now for developing Olympic training facilities ahead of 2012. Conversely, sports that don’t produce Olympic athletes are struggling for funds.

The plans posted show the pools filled in. No question. We can only hope that the design has moved on from this point. I can understand why some people are ambiguous about Pont; I always think it looks a bit under-funded or cheap, and having had a good dose of Trent belly I’m not keen on spending too much time upside down there. But as year round white water it’s invaluable; there’s simply nowhere else within 2 hours drive that’s anywhere near as good for honing your skills.

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Post by BaldockBabe » Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:26 pm

Slaphappy wrote:
Agreed, the longer I am a member the more I question the reason for this, as to date I have not renewed my membership for the year as it seems utterly pointless. I am wondering why poeple are members at all, especially clubs who many see no benefit what-so-ever. I would like the chairmans email to see a reply.

[
Because as an individual I have to be to be able to compete. If I could compete without it I would not bother.

As a club we do it for insurance reasons.

peteV
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Post by peteV » Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:41 pm

another way to get some attention and prehaps get some consultation would be to contact the local media? might be worth a shot especialy on the angle of the council ending up with some kind of white elephant no-one can use which they'll lose money on (wasting council tax money) that usualy gets people attention

also pete you thought of using the evil mother of all facebook? just as a really quick way of spreading things out, especialy as theres lots of kayaking groups out there as well.

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Post by james c » Tue Aug 05, 2008 5:33 pm

Perhaps now is the time to setup a new body for those interested in other aspects to kayaking
This is probably the only option that could ever work. As previousley mentioned people have tried to challenge the BCU policy in the past, without much success it seems. Just needs a few people to take a risk and stick their necks out ..... any volunteers!

Unfortunately I'm in a position where I have quite a few coaching quals. that I do regularly use to generate income, so even though I think the BCU is a monumental waste of space I have few other options. What I would like to do is switch my membership from the BCU to the WCA, but I'm sure there is some sort of obstruction in place to stop me doing that?!
another way to get some attention and prehaps get some consultation would be to contact the local media?
I'd have thought the media is probably all set to go into 'olympic frenzy' over the next few weeks so anyone daring to deny olympic athletes the training facilities they need would probably be shot down in flames! Sod everyone else. I've heard that BCU world class is also very good at coming up with its own sorrow stories about how hard done by they are in terms of funding and training venues, which they use on a regular basis if they don't get their own way.

How many BCU numbers do you have now BTW Pete?

Rich the Stickman
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Post by Rich the Stickman » Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:26 pm

e-mailed

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MattBibbings
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Post by MattBibbings » Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:48 pm

I cannot for the life of me see why they would want to change the course to make it less demanding and less deep? Surely thats a big step backwards not an upgrade or improvment!

This defys logic.

John Saunders
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Post by John Saunders » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:43 pm

merlin wrote:This defys logic.
Not to mention the spirit, and possibly the letter, of the BCU constitution:

The objects for which the Union is established are:

(iv) To encourage and help all, especially young people, to promote their health, wellbeing and education, to develop their self-reliance and independence, […] through the use of canoes in competitive and recreational activities

(xv) To protect the interests of canoeists; to work for improved facilities for canoeing in the United Kingdom

(xix) To provide and supply information and advice to Members concerning the practice of competitive and recreational canoeing

peteV
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Post by peteV » Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:24 pm

james c wrote: I'd have thought the media is probably all set to go into 'olympic frenzy' over the next few weeks so anyone daring to deny olympic athletes the training facilities they need would probably be shot down in flames! Sod everyone else. I've heard that BCU world class is also very good at coming up with its own sorrow stories about how hard done by they are in terms of funding and training venues, which they use on a regular basis if they don't get their own way.
How many BCU numbers do you have now BTW Pete?
ironicaly the better they do at this olympics the worse their argument goes for changing HPP to waht they want, another good reason to support britain at sport! i agree using the media is a double edged sword but usualy the first to say something gets the advantage as the BCU would then have to answer what was said as oposed to just say what they want, besides it would be easy to make them look unreasonable if they refused to even consult??

As long as the BCU run the coaching awards then have to stay with them.

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Post by LSCCboater » Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:17 pm

Could I suggest that we between us setup several petitions at shops and other centre's I am sure that after these changes the national student rodeo will be in serious question as to being hosted at hpp. If it cannot be held there I cannot see any other really obvious locations other than possibly the trywerryn for hosting it, if I remember rightly it has approximately just under a thousand competitors. Hosting this event at the trywerryn will be a bit of safety nightmare being so shallow and rocky, meaning any swim will result in a bit of a beating at least unless it is possibly from the worlds hole on the topsite. Getting rid of the muncher as they have stated/admitted is a cardinal sin as it were in the first place. They have already got rid of what was the double wave already this was used for most or all of the beginners catergory.

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Pete C.
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Post by Pete C. » Wed Aug 06, 2008 9:25 am

Hi guys,

Support for this is going crazy - thanks so much to everyone who's getting in touch! The volume of responses in the inbox means I'm spending most of my evenings replying to the mails that come in and doing data entry. It's awesome to see just how passionate people are about the HPP course being for everyone.

A few comments from where I'm sitting...

James - the sign-off process is a tangled web - it needs to be approved by both Nottingham County Council and Sport England. It would be great if both these bodies recognised the importance of the grass roots paddlers and - in NCC's case - the importance of a commercially viable course.

Sandy - I know some of the guys who work for EPD, and I've got loads of respect for them. They do some brilliant work, and they get to play with some fantastic projects. I trust in their knowledge but the fact remains - if their brief comes solely from World Class Performance, we'll end up with a shallow course that doesn't work across disciplines.

Slaphappy - sounds like what you're after is a Welsh address!

LSCCboater - petitions sound great! The guys at Desperate Measures have said they've got one by the till - any other retailers who want to get involved, drop me a PM!

Cheers,

Pete Cornes.

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Post by Eliza Dolittle » Wed Aug 06, 2008 11:26 am

Old Coach wrote: Surely there must be a way of laying a separation membrane under the new concrete so it can be broken out later?

Or instead of concrete why not some hollow "hippos" that fit together without any gaps and can be lifted in and out to change the depth of the pools? It's got to be easier than attacking the course with a JCB .

I've competed in and watched slalom in the past. I know how difficult some wide staggers on a fast flowing river can be, but watching someone paddle a meaty drop, break out just below then power through an upstream gate, surf the stopper and then paddle on downstream is what makes for exciting viewing.

Email sent.

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Post by Pete Hennessy » Wed Aug 06, 2008 8:15 pm

Email sent.

I hope they listen to all stakeholders - but I wish I had more faith that the BCU would take recreational paddlers seriously.

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Post by jmmoxon » Wed Aug 06, 2008 9:12 pm

Just wondering if anyone knows how much ww paddlers actually contribute to running costs of HPP? I imagine it's not a great percentage of the total income. Once olympic & Cardiff (also Liverpool?) courses open up where is HPP going to find any income?

On a related note why has the Tryweryn stopped charging paddlers - the fees obviously aren't worth collecting there either.

The facts of life are we are always going to end up with the level of facilities that we are prepared to pay for.

Mike

LSCCboater
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Post by LSCCboater » Wed Aug 06, 2008 11:51 pm

As has already been stated by someone the big money is in rafting, by charging the none kayakiong community for an extreme sport experience sort of thing. Please see the Canoe England please take the hint from the WCA thread that I had started. This is primarilly why CT has stopped charging people there for general kayaking and canoeing and has not/very probably will not impose other fees to cover the lost revenue.

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Post by BASSBEAVER0 » Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:25 am

Email sent.

Thanks Pete for the heads up.

I was down at HPP at the weekend and although it was only my second time down there, as I`ve only just started to get to a level to paddle there, so I am still getting used to where things are, I didn`t notice anything to let people know of the plans etc.

Emails have gone out to nearly all of our club members to make them aware of the situation and I am sure you will get much support back from them.

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Post by derby dave » Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:26 pm

Pete, thanks for highlighting the situation.

Does anyone have any more info regarding the public consultation - dates/times etc... I'm happy to take time out to make my concerns known in person.

Dave

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