In response to our watered-down request for the canal towpath to be swept, we received the following reply:
Thank you for your reply email regarding the towpath surface on the Lancaster Canal. I have forwarded your feedback to our Enterprise team and also the local supervisor and engineering.
With regard to your second note about brushing the towpaths of the composted leaf muck, we wouldn’t usually clear leaves off our towpaths. Through the Autumn and Winter whilst the leaves are falling it would be impossible to keep the towpaths clear of leaves and we simply don’t have funds or staff for this. But I will forward your suggestion to our volunteer co-ordinator.
We do rely very heavily on help from volunteers and if you or are aware of anyone who would like to join our volunteer working parties and help care for this lovely area please let me know and will be happy to pass the contact details to our volunteer team. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about our volunteer works, please follow this link: http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteering.
Thank you for contacting Canal & River Trust and giving your feedback, if you need anything further please do not hesitate to contact us again.
Deeply depressing, although we do acknowledge that all organisations are short of money. The implication is that essential maintenance work won’t get done unless volunteer groups do it. Look out for future calls for Dynamo volunteers . . .
Another consideration is that developers – who don’t want to pay a penny more than they have to – cite the canal towpath as a sustainable route to shops and work (e.g. the application for 125 houses on Ashton Road). Well, only if you have a mountain bike or really stout shoes, perhaps! New developments may be one way of trying to get funding for infrastructure, but that doesn’t extend to maintenance.