The West Country Branch of the Inland Waterways Association has won this years ‘Branch Achievement’ award and today held an event at Bridgwater Docks to receive a trophy, honour their volunteers and promote their ongoing workload. Mayor of Bridgwater Graham Granter was there to thank them for their contribution to our town and other Town Councillors turned up to discuss mutual interests and taking their campaigns forward.
The IWA West Country Branch has worked with Bridgwater Town Council towards the long term aim of enhancing the navigation on the River Parrett and to regenerate the former docks and also on the Tidal Barrier Campaign. Local members have been integral to putting the waterways at the forefront of the Town Councils vision for the future.
Mike Slade has organised volunteers along the canal and round the docks and today took people on a tour making suggestions for improvements from the upgrade of an old crane to the opening of the Barge lock while stressing the ongoing work his volunteers are engaged in such as painting railings, litter picking and promoting the waterways.
Patsy Robinson has organised three Docks Galas in Bridgwater urging people to make use of this key heritage site and has also led the campaign to restore the Bridgwater Buoy, now loated on a pedestal beside the dock. This years Gala will be July 1st.
Bob Abbot and Ray Alexander have been regular attendees at Town and District Council meetings campaigning strongly for the navigational opportunities that the Tidal Barrier could present if we get it right. The waterways of the town could once again become active and a major feature for tourists and townsfolk alike.
Westover ward Councillor Kathy Pearce is leading a regeneration project on behalf of the Town Council with a view to seeking funding for the docks and today talked to anyone and everyone with the aim of building that partnership to take the project forward.
Town Council Leader Brian Smedley (Westover) said “We are at a crucial time for our waterways. No one can fault the IWA for their dedicated campaigning to refocus our town on our maritime heritage and inspirational leading by example not just making the case for a water-based future but physically getting down and doing the work needed to clean up, restore, maintain and enhance what we have. This is a crucial time because of the opportunity presented by the Tidal Barrier and the possibilities for making the river navigable again, getting the docks open and getting craft back onto the canal. It’s no coincidence that this years Town Council Calendar and series of postcards focus on our maritime past and our hopes for a future where we can once again connect with our waterways and the opportunities that will provide for regeneration.”