ENews 2009-11 – Restoration Special

July 13th 2009

Hello and welcome to ENews 2009-10, an exclusive restoration update edition!

Below and in its entirety is a report I have received from Dave Marshall, Stroud District Council's Public Relations Officer:

The Canals Project Team has now been joined by Paul Williams, a Senior Engineer with Halcrow Ltd, who is working from Ebley Mill for 2 days a week. Paul is already familiar with the project, as the company did work for British Waterways. Paul will add a much-needed engineering resource to undertake forward planning. Meanwhile, advertisements will shortly be placed for the posts of Environment & Heritage Manager (EDITOR'S NOTE – this job is now advertised, see http://www.stroud.gov.uk/docs/vacancies.asp?vid=705), Quantity Surveyor and Volunteer Co-ordinator.
 
A further consultancy contract has been placed with Arup for completing environmental scoping for the project and further detailed works as needed. The formal legal agreement with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will be signed next week. Crucially, it will allow HLF funds to be drawn down, thus also permitting the above posts to be filled.
 
Essential preparation for the start of work in late summer is well underway. The Cotswold Canals Trust has now submitted a planning application for the new bridge at Upper Mills, Stonehouse. By doing most of the preparatory work before Stroud District Council formally took the decision to become lead partner, the Trust has enabled a much earlier start than would otherwise have been possible. The actual work will be led by SDC.
 
This week will see the appointment of consultants to undertake sampling of the material to be dredged from the canal between Stonehouse Ocean and Horsetrough Roundabout  The results will confirm whether or not the dredged material is safe to be spread across farmers’ fields – a much cheaper option than the alternative of sending it to landfill.
 
As mentioned last month, volunteers are an essential part of the Canals Project, in terms of community involvement, offsetting cost and bringing to bear additional skills. Now there’s an opportunity for staff to be involved! The canal bank outside Ebley Mill is badly overgrown and in need of a tidy up. If you fancy rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in, get in touch! The plan is to allocate a couple of days to this task later in the summer, probably September. Under the Corporate Volunteering Scheme, you can work for to 3 days a year, in work time, provided you have your manager’s approval. Training and dates will be given nearer the time, right now we are gathering names of anyone interested.
 
A group of volunteers is about to begin work on a project to raise awareness of the canal by using it as a primary school education resource. If successful, the project will be extended to become a resource for the whole community.
 
A special mini exhibition on canal history can be found in the foyer at the Museum in the Park and will run until 20th September. The exhibition contains various canal artefacts, including a model of the boat weighing machine which was once sited at Brimscombe Port.
 
The recent heatwave caused the death of around 100 fish in the canal behind Dr Newton’s Way and more near Stonehouse. Unfortunately, this is quite a common problem in shallow, slow flowing watercourses. The basic cause is a lack of dissolved oxygen in the water, resulting from the hot, still weather. Oxygen uptake is reduced due to several factors.
 
We have been in regular contact with the Environment Agency, which found that the dissolved oxygen level was down to 17% whereas fish need around 60%. With help from Stroud Angling Club, we removed most of the dead fish on Friday.
 
Our planned dredging of the canal between Stonehouse and Ryeford will improve the situation there. This underlines the point that although a derelict canal forms a wildlife habitat, it is bound to deteriorate through silting and will ultimately cease to exist. Protection and creation of wildlife habitat is one of the main benefits of canal restoration.

oOo

So there you have it….things are starting to happen!

The primary objective of ENews is to keep members, volunteers and subscribers up to date with what's happening within the Cotswold Canals Trust as a whole. Any and all feedback is more than welcome.

If you have any newsworthy items you would like to be considered for inclusion please let me know at postmaster@cctmembers-newsletter.co.uk
 but please remember there should always be a connection with the Stroudwater, the Thames & Severn or the CCT – however tenuous.

David Pagett
Editor, ENews
The Cotswold Canals Trust – Registered Charity No: 269721.
44 Black Jack Street, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2AA.
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Registered Office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1NZ