Sunday, 21 August 2011

Tinsley Marina (2)

Since the issue about dog ownership within the marina was raised, we have not had any further indication of when this proposed change might be brought about. There are a number of other dog owners at Tinsley Marina. I expect they would be as enthralled by the prospect of a change in the mooring terms and conditions, as we were.

I understand that there have been issues of dog fouling within the marina precincts. I think that the current BW terms and conditions are sufficient to manage that. I fail to see what a blanket ban on dog ownership will achieve. A walk along the tow path will illustrate the amount of dog fouling that goes on. As a responsible dog owner my dogs have been trained to pee and poo on command. I also try to set an example to others by our clean up actions. We often offer a poo bag to dog owners who have a dog that has fouled the tow path. If done in a nice friendly way most will respond as appropriate.

Recently, the members of the Boat Club, formed a fishing section. However, the intention was not as you might expect to promote and foster fishing around the area. The ethos of forming the Boat Club, Fishing Section was essentially to have a marina-wide ban on fishing. Some people expressed the opinion that fishing was causing some damage to their boats.

Plus the disabled anglers were using the marina toilet facilities. This caused some consternation amongst the boat owners on the marina who enjoyed fishing within the locality. Eventually there was an allowance made by the Tinsley Marina Boat Club (fishing section) for boat owners to be able to fish in the Marina but only from their own boats.

I can well understand that anyone who pays their mooring fees and likes to enjoy a spot of fishing would feel that this does not fall into line with their requirements. As one said, the proponents of this change are the people who are not anglers. I can understand this differing viewpoint. However, everyone is entitled to hold an opinion. But is the outright fishing ban proportionate and does it give any real measurable benefit?

There are a small number of disabled anglers who frequent the marina from time to time. I have met one or two of them and they are quite friendly people. There is wheelchair access to a limited number of fishing spots around the marina. However, the majority of the area where people can go to fish is off-limits to the disabled, due to a lack of suitable wheelchair access.

In this time of working in partnership with other waterways user groups. I had a very succinct comment from a disabled angler. He said: "The Boat Club did not implement the fishing ban as a Boat Club policy. The boat club in first forming a “fishing clubthat was diametrically“opposed fishing” was seen by the canal anglers as a deliberate and provocative measure. It was done as a spiteful act against the disabled anglers to whom they object." That is pretty powerful stuff that this person is feeling. He is going to take up his concerns with other groups who represent and support people with disabilities.

The message that this sends to the disabled anglers is one of us and them. You can't fish here but the privileged few can. It is the anglers and other similar waterways groups who are going to have to provide the volunteer workforce for the new waterways charity. Its not a good example of working together to start by creating deep divisions between the various waterways groups.

Now, I used to fish as a young man. However, I had a complete change of heart and decided that it was not something that I wanted to continue to do. However, in all fairness I did get a great deal of enjoyment from the sport. I feel that it is up to the individual and their conscience to either abstain or continue to fish. I have no axe to grind on this issue. Each to their own.

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