Greetings and a Happy New Year to all.
This will be the first e magazine that last years new members will have received, if anyone does not want to receive it, please reply.
Chairman Roger Francis’ report, at the last meeting, dwelt on restoration and funding. HLF have given MBACT a time extension to complete the last two locks at Ty-Coch, delayed due to the weather. However, it is a worrying fact that none of the partnership councils have a budget for maintenance of the completed structures in the future. Further more, Torfaen C.B.C. have set out plans to spend money on Pontymoile Basin,( a C.R.T. owned stretch of canal), whereas, MBACT would prefer to see the money spent further down the canal where there is certainly no chance of C.R.T. investing in a reciprocative manner. MBACT will be sending their objection to Torfaen.
Looking further ahead, plans are afoot to make a model of the structure required to navigate over the road near B & Q. This will incorporate a lift mechanism in the shape of two Forge Hammers which will hopefully create a Tourist Attraction as well as a practical solution.
The Modular Lock Gate programme will be launched with a day event at the restoration site on 11th May 2016 and will be devoted to Dignitaries and Media coverage.
The Ty-Coch site will be officially opened on 30th September and 1st October and will be opened to the public. Both days will see the trip boat,” Edith- Elizabeth”, taking passengers through the locks. Due to heavy rain, those on site recently had a preview of what the basin and locks look like when full of water!
Five Locks Basin, Pontnewydd. Torfaen have expressed an interest in having “The Lord Raglan” moored at Five locks as a floating classroom and Trip boat, so MBACT is looking at the possibility of building a Boat House on the basin there. In the same area, The Cross Keys Pub has been sold and the new owners want to change it into a private dwelling, this is being objected to by Torfaen, the Glenside/Pontnewydd residents and MBACT, as a public facility and space will be lost.
Plans are also afoot to start restoring Locks 3,4 and 5 at Pontnewydd once the Stone Masons have finished at Ty-Coch in September, subject to sufficient funding.
Canalathon and Boat Rally. This years Canalathon is planned for Saturday 10th September and boat owners are invited to come up to Brecon Basin to welcome the finishing teams and join in the general festivities. As usual there will music with live bands and food available to all. Entries for the Canalathon can be downloaded from canalathon.mbact.org.uk from the beginning of February.
Pentre Lane. Purchase of the land required for the position of a new bridge is on going.
The Manor Road Feeder. Constructive talks between Caerphilly C.B.C. and Welsh Water, with MBACT observing, have taken place with an aim to repair the Penstocks at Manor Road, thus enabling the underground feeder to be directed back into the Canal. Not only will this help to maintain water levels in time of drought (!!!!), but hopefully help MBACT to operate the Trip Boat “Edith-Elizabeth” at Fourteen Locks. Further dredging is also required this year to enable the “Islwyn Lilly” to operate from “Whysom’s Wharf”.
Fourteen Locks. Work continues to seal the area above Lock 20, at the top pound, to allow the trip boat access to Locks 17,18.19 &20, for schools and the public to experience the use of a flight of locks.
Volunteers have always run MBACT and in recent years have been responsible for restoration at Ty-Coch and the running of the shop in Newport. Volunteers are now taking a major hand in running Fourteen Locks and operating the Trip Boat but with a greater demand made on them, more are needed. If you would like to help operate the trip boat, man a display table or sell Duck Race tickets at an event, please contact any member, Fourteen Locks or me, we would love to have you along!
See you on the Cut,