The heritage of living on the river threatened by British Waterways.....

...the very organization that is tasked with caring and nuturing it. (inspired by a FB post today about this Guardian article: Houseboaters being 'socially cleansed' from Olympics area

This blog post I'm thinking of using as a scratch space to use for thoughts, research and potential actions to see how I can personally help in some small or big way in raising awareness, altering destructive attitudes and secure the future of an ancient maritime tradition that is increasingly under threat from pastel-coloured faceless organisations and greedy developers.  The canals and rivers of England contain a Royal thread and link for commoners back in time linking them to the people, the boats, the piers, the jettys, the locks, the docks, the houses that are a living part of the river.  This river life has been eroded not by the people trying to live it, to care for it, to be part of it, but by those who seek to exploit it commercially or for some other impersonal reason.

I wanted to get a handle on what the British Waterways mandate is officially.  And what the spirit behind that mandate is.  I'm reading their most recent report.  What should they be doing for people who live on the river? What can they be compelled to do?  What historic, national interest is being threatened here.  Is it a part of the very fabric and culture of the Kingdom?  What can be done if any of this were true - who can help?  What approaches will be the most effective?  What will it take to turn the British Waterways approach around to be a highly supportive patron and advocate of inexpensive living on the river?  I'd like to find out.

From the British Waterways Annual Report and Accounts 2009-2010 it says:

"The more youngpeople feel that the canal is for them, indeed owned by them,the more they will be the guardians of its future"
- encouraging young people to live on the waterways would make the most lasting, deepest bonds of ownership and interest

"Tom Rolt    This is the centenary year of the birth of Tom Rolt, the visionary activist who co-founded the Inland Waterways Association (IWA)and the author of the hugely influential book ‘Narrow Boat’.To celebrate this milestone, we are teaming up with the IWA andThe Waterways Trust (TWT) to support a number of celebrations including a youth led music festival. I am so proud of our past.We must preserve it but our greatest challenge is always to makesure we adapt to meet tomorrow’s opportunities and challenges and remain relevant to future society as well as the past."
- the irony of  BW rushing to embrace charitable status and then focusing on commercial activites alongside the sweetner of  preservation and visitor access is deflecting.  This should be addressed.

"‘regarded as one of the nation’s most importantand valued national assets’ In 2009, 91% of the population thought canals were animportant and valued national asset."
- there is something useful here, around the recognition of national assets

"BW’s financial results continue to be adversely affected by therecession and in particular the impact it has had on propertydevelopment activities in our joint ventures. A further write downin value of development properties in joint ventures has beenrequired to reflect current market values."
- what are these joint ventures?  if BW chooses with it's charitable status to delve into joint commercial ventures and it fails, then this should in no way impact the very people who live on the waterways that BW should wish to protect and not seek to disadvantage.  Is there a way to embarrass the BW in sticking to basics, drop commercial speculative activity and focus on their core role - in parallel with guaranteeing and securing this most distinctive, waterborne tradition.