Saturday, 17 September 2011

Got the hump with British Waterways?

How effectively (or not) BW spends money has always been a bone of contention with me. My main complaints recently have been about BW Directors remuneration despite their many high level failures and the failing state of BW's finances. However week in, week out, there is lots of small scale stuff which I don't report on here. Anyone with a Goggle search or the like will see them coming up in their results especially in regional and local press items.

Given that it's clearly full steam ahead with the New Waterways Charity (NWC),  it's important that local consultation issues on the day to day running of the waterways aren't overlooked and here's one that popped up today: Speed bumps that don't work have apparently been installed on London towpaths (at whatever expense). Lots of small recumbent white elephants?

The troubled saga of BW taking public money for promoting cycling on canal towpaths in London (and elsewhere) is and old chestnut and many of us say that BW were always more interested in the money than the consequences. Conflict between some cyclists and other towpath users is now a regular complaint in the news sites and forums and an ongoing source of contention that seems likely to continue indefinitely, thanks I say to a combination of BW's basic management incompetence and desperation to find funding.

I therefore remain pretty sceptical about the NWC and the proposition that the public or others will donate to the new body when we still have to put up with exemples like this of what money BW does have seemingly being fritterred away on nonsense and ill prepapred and poorly consulted schemes that make Wile Coyete look like a management guru. If people are to donate they want to see their money spent well on the frontline. Examples like this don't fill one with confidence that the current BW management is capable of consistently acheiving that.

My only hope for the NWC is that we will see  a radical change in the senior management of BW and that the self agrandising self-serving idiots in parts of BW's senior management are done away as soon as possible and replaced with a team that has a genuine ethos of effective engagement and involvement with all stakeholders, something presently that is woefully lacking in BW. If his does not happen I fear the NWC is doomed to failure.

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