PLEASE SHARE WITH BOATERS AND BOATER GROUPS
With drought closing the Leeds and Liverpool canal either side of Burnley the festival had to be content with a handful of canoeists on the water, but it could have been different with a little cooperation from Canal & River Trust.
Canal campaigner Colin Ogden, attended last year’s festival and was immediately invited back with his restored historic Lake District taxi – Whimbrel.
Back in June he says, he was told by C&RT’s Project Officer Emma Fielding, at the Trust’s Rosegrove office, that he couldn’t use the slipway at Finsley Gate Wharf due to 'building work'.
Within days Colin was appearing in the local Burnley Express newspaper appealing for a truck large enough to hoist Whimbrel into the Leeds Liverpool Canal for the festival.
That appeal was unsuccessful but before the Festival Colin turned up in his native Burnley, only to find that far from being a building site, Finsley Gate Wharf was as empty and unused as it has been for many years.
A week before the festival The Floater asked Canal & River Trust why it was apparently unwilling to make an effort to assist in enabling the launch. The only response was silence. It is difficult to understand why the Trust was not willing to assist the Festival by enabling Colin to put at least one boat on the canal.
When, during the Festival Colin asked publicly on social media why he had been told the wharf was going to be a building site when it clearly wasn’t, there was no official response.
However, an observer reported to Colin that, at the C&RT stall at the Festival: “Emma Fielding was saying that she did not lie and that they should ignore you as you will soon go away”. This despite the evidence in plain view that there there was no building work on the site and that C&RT is holding an open day there in a few days time to promote a development it has planned for the site.