Attending

Howard Smith Chairman

Graham Myatt Treasurer & Stoke-on-Trent BC

Margaret Smith Secretary

Terence Balchin QM & Derby MBC

Alan & Pat Heeley AshTree BC

Doug & Edna LeightonCoventry CC

Ann Banks Black Buoy CC

Jean DeveyStafford BC

Sheila Smith ECP & DA

George  & Margaret Darmody Mid Warks YC

Roger & Pam McLellan Lichfield CC & BCF

Lynne Cater WRGBC

Trevor & Marian Orton Swarkestone BC

Derek Beardsmore Longwood BC

Paul Bryan Wolverhampton BC

Sheila & Stewart Priddy Weighbridge CCRandal  & Janine Heard Norbury CC

1. Apologies.

Alan & Chris Woodhouse ECP&DA

Alan Griffiths Fradley Junction CC

John Wilkinson Soar BC

Meeting Commenced 11.45 am

2. Minutes of Meeting held on 13thJanuary 2007 at. Soar Boating Club.

Proposed Graham Myatt

Seconded Alan Heeley

3. Matters Arising

Roger McLellan has received further communication from BW re Cyclists on the towpath. BW is to discuss the way forward with colleagues from other areas. Howard believes that problems on the towpath are to be discussed at the next BW Corridors meeting. George Darmody reported problems in theLeamington area with mini motos.

4. Chairman’s Report. (Taken from AGM minutes.)

This has been a very up and down year, not just for us here in the midlands but nationally.

I think our minds have been taken up with the cuts which DEFRA have made to the BW budget. We must not get away from the fact that other topics, which used to be upper most in our thoughts, have been very quietly fed in while we had our eyes off the ball.  Yes consultation of sorts did take place, but the final increase was more than we were led to believe.  We were all urged to write to our MPs protesting at the cuts. The replies I have received go from “I am afraid I cannot sign the motion as I am a minnow in this government”, to “BW did not fight hard enough to prevent the cuts and seem quite happy with the position as it is now”.  The reply from the Waterways Minister was so full of nothing, it beggars belief that such a person can hold down such a responsible job.  Thinking about it he was probably put there for a purpose.

One thing he did say was that BW saw the cuts coming, but did nothing about it.  Some of the mid year cuts will not now take place, so maybe our protestations did do some good.

The merging of theWest Midlands and Central Shires as one unit with the attendant job cuts took place.  All regions will have a new “Family Tree” after April 1st when the transfer of parts of the canal system takes place.  Some regions are already re-scheduling the User Group Meetings.  For the next couple of months we are back to the pre 1995 hit squads, but will there be anything to hit?

We had a presentation by Warwickshire Fire Brigade on “Fire Safety and Carbon Monoxide” Very thought provoking.

When the Technical Officer’s report was taken to the National Executive, highlighting the need for CO and smoke detectors on boats, there was a national cry for boaters to install smoke alarms and CO detectors.  If in doubt about where to put the detectors on your boat, then get a free survey.   All the Midland Region Fire Brigades have taken up the “Fire Safety Scheme”.  There have been more fires on boats and I think this is due to the increase of people residing on boats.  It might not be just yours that goes up, but the ones on either side.

West Coast Main Line has been a bit of a pain and we can only hope that Network Rail will be true to their word and open the navigation on time.   I personally think that this work will overrun the date of March 17th 2007.

We have now been informed that the Boat Safety Scheme is to become self-funding.  The price of certificates has already gone up to examiners and from the figures being put about; £50 does not seem far out when talking about an increase.

BSS + mooring + license + Red Diesel = Unhappy Boater

The one constant is the effort put in by AWCC to represent the boaters not only with BW but the EA as well.

5. Secretary’s Report.

I wish to ensure that Reps know that the EXEC meetings are open to all AWCC members. If you wish to go along, you will be made most welcome, meals are pre booked. The Exec meetings are on Saturday mornings and are nowMidlands based. If you wish to be made aware of the meeting dates and venues just contact the National Secretary or me.

Do not forget that our region meetings are open for your club members to attend should they show an interest.  You can also ask someone else to attend on your behalf if you are away enjoying sunnier/ warmer places or just simply not able to attend.

Last weekend I was able to circulate the clubs that have supplied email addresses, the latest news about the House Of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s, British Waterways Sub-Committee, Public Hearing for Individuals, in Gloucester on 16th April, where public opinion is to be submitted by 15th March. I would urge the clubs reps that do not have access to email, to check with their clubs members to see if anyone would accept email from us if this sort of situation arises again. Mail shots are far slower than email and give you less time to get your responses sorted. Email can go out within minutes of us getting them. Following the National AGM  2007 the AWCC will have a new National Secretary. Keith Noble is retiring after many years of great service. Personally I wish to thank Keith for the support he gave when I took on this post. His background knowledge is amazing. Keith has been asked to be Vice President, so will not be leaving the AWCC Exec.

The new National Secretary will be Ann Banks from Black Buoy Cruising Club.

Following discussions at the last Exec meeting, the SW region will be reorganised. As the Midlands region has made a huge effort to improve communications in the last year, we as a region are being asked if we will accept more members.

As the secretary for The Boaters Christian Fellowship resides in our region, they have nominated Roger McLellan as their rep, and have asked to join our region. The Boaters Christian Fellowship will retain an interest in the South West region, but only act as an observer should they attend any meetings, to remain true to the constitution of the AWCC.

We welcome the Boaters Christian Fellowship into our region.

6. Treasurer’sReport.

Balances @06/03/07

Bank                            £1934.70

Chq                              £   149.00

Cash                            £     20.30

Sec.’s float                  £     50.00

£2154.00

Building Society.                                              £1174.47

Total                                                                £3328.47

Includes :-        £40 unpaid invoice to National

£1161 National subs.

2007 Subs.

3 clubs have not yet paid 2007 subs.

Midlands Region has gained another club – Boaters Christian Fellowship.

Giving a total of 30.

The balance includes £180 part of the donation from the National purse. This money was donated to assist regions with their regional protests. .Any Club wishing to apply for some of this money towards costs of banners, publicity etc. please contact Graham in writing.

At the 2007 AGM it was agreed that Region Subs will be increased by £1 per year.

This will come into effect for the 2008 subs.

7. QuartermasterReport.

Club Flags

You will all have been circulated about thepossible purchase of AWCC Club Flags, these will be £55 each, so far my interested order book stands at one flag, if your club would like to purchase one please let me know before the end of the month. I need to order at least ten to keep the price to £55.

Burgees

The price of Burgees has soared since the last order and these are now on sale for £10, but for today and at the National AGM they are £9.

Handbook

This years Handbook the Yellow covered one is to sell at £1.60 but for today and the National AGM at Stafford, I will offer them at £1.40 this includes any pre-ordered ones too.

Shirts and Bags

There are a few shirts on offer today too, reduced by £2 to £13. Bags reduced by £2 to £4, and some fleeces at £16, again reduced by £2.

Hats

There are some more hats with flaps on the way. I was hoping to have them here today, but they are now being delivered next week at £10  each, so they will be available atStafford also, I can take orders today if anyone is interested.

8. National Executive Report.

Following the National AGM  2007 the AWCC will have a new National Secretary. Keith Noble is retiring after many years of great service. Keith has been asked to be Vice President, so will not be leaving the AWCC Exec. The new National Secretary will be Ann Banks from Black Buoy Cruising Club.

The National Executive is looking for a Vice Chairman and Communications Officer due to people making their wish to retire known. If any one is interested and would like more information on the time commitments, responsibilities etc please contact Malcolm Wood (Communications Officer) or any of the Vice Chairs. All contact details in the current handbook.

House Of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s, British Waterways Sub-Committee, Public Hearing for Individuals, inGloucester on 16th April, The AWCC Nat Exec are working on questions for this meeting and has ensured that we have a good presence at this meeting. More will be said at the AGM on 24th March.

Other current issues i.e. Boat Safety Scheme funding, red diesel are all being discussed at various meetings. They might not be as high a profile at the moment but they are by no means forgotten

9. Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Feedback

Members agreed that the presentation by Nigel Grant was thought provoking and made you look at your boat with new eyes.

Nigel will be giving his presentation after the National AGM atStafford Boat Club on 24th March if you missed it in January

10. Fire Alarmsand Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors plus Technical Officers Report.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue are offering a free fire safety check and fitting free smoke alarms. We were reminded to fit good quality batteries in our smoke alarms and to test the alarms are working on a regular basis.

Over the bed is the recommended location for alarms.

From the EXEC minutes.

“Brian Hayes was welcomed back as Technical Officer to the National Executive. He proposed that the AWCC recommends that all boats should be required to be fitted with smoke/CO detectors. There was discussion about obtaining samples for sale at the March AGM, but it was decided to make recommendations rather than have to worry about faulty units being returned. “

There is to be a press release on this matter to clarify our position.

11. Reports from Representatives

No meetings to report back from.

12. Any Other Business.

A Chat Forum for Reps is now available on the AWCC website.

Doug Leighton read from aMalta newspaper which mentioned the on going Red Diesel taxation issue.

George Darmody mentioned that The TV program Water World has stirred up local interest / opposition in theAvon – Grand Union Link.

Ann Banks reported that if you applied the new mooring figures from the BW website to the Black Buoy moorings, the club should be looking at a decrease in fees.

Howard Smith is intending to retire at the 2008 AGM.

ECP&DA Rally with AWCCMidland Region 23rd – 26th May 2008

It was agreed that the AWCC Midland Region will run the Duck Race at this rally.

A raffle will be held at each meeting to raise further funds. Prizes to be supplied by clubs.

12. Forthcoming events

Royal Leamington Spa Canal Festival 2007 – 5th – 6th May 2007

May Day weekend Anglesey Basin BCN. Protest Rally. Boat entry £8 BBQ £5.

Week following protest BCN cruise and another protest. Contact Derek Beardsmore

Stoke on Trent Boat Club 50th Anniversary Rally – Spring Bank Holiday weekend 2007

Coventry Cruising Club. 13th -14th July 2007 Strawberry Tea.

ECP&DA Rally with AWCCMidland Region  23rd – 26th May 2008

13. Next Meeting.

Saturday 9th June 2007 at Lichfield Cruising Club

Dates and Venues for 2007/8 meetings.

Venues to be confirmed

June 9th 2007 Lichfield Cruising Club

October 20th 2007 Stafford

January 12th 2008 Tamworth

March 8th Soar Boating Club

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