Page 5

From The Steerer It was a surprise – and a privilege – to be asked to act again as branch chairman. I never tire of telling IWA friends from other branches that our area includes the country's finest canals! There are significant restorations too: the Montgomery and Shrewsbury & Newport Canals both have features unique in our waterway network, face challenges to reopening and offer a valuable contribution to the area, as does the Whitchurch Arm project. Much has changed since we started out as a branch nearly forty years ago. Then we had to campaign for the value of our waterways to be appreciated, and the IWA's new branch structure was a way of bringing that campaign into each part of the country. Today there is a recognition of the value of our waterways and what we do to sustain, protect and promote them makes a contribution to the well-being of our area, telling a wider audience what it has to offer. There is too a new level of enthusiasm within Canal & River Trust. That Trust is of course the realisation of a vision promoted by IWA many years ago (though so far incorporationg only ex-BW waterways) and we work with CRT more closely than ever for the benefit of our waterways. Today's recognition of our canals and navigable rivers comes from their considerable social value, their economic, social and environmental benefit. They bring visitors from far and wide – many, especially on the Llangollen, from overseas – and are one of the most important features of local tourism, and hence of the local economy. As well as what we do locally, the branch has a role as part of the national association. Nationally the IWA is active in protecting and promoting our waterway network and, when it has to, takes issue with the Government, the Canal & River Trust or anyone else. Nationally and locally there are many matters which affect our waterways, from the extension of the national grid network to the construction of new marinas or the impact of HS2 and IWA can take a public stance on such issues to reflect the concerns of members, and is not constrained in the way that CRT might be. At the same time, any organisation has to adapt to the world around it: I am sure Summer 2014

Page 5

Shroppie Fly Paper

2014 06 Shroppie Fly Paper  

Shroppie Fly Paper is the newsletter of the Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch of The Inland Waterways Association.