‘From the horse’s mouth’

In the week or so since I set up this blog, there still hasn’t been a public statement from the BCU about the changes to Holme Pierrepont white water course.

I’ve emailed Chris Hawkesworth, their facilities manager, to let him know I’d love to post up their take on it. Instead of a press release or statement, he’s asked me to post a private email exchange between himself and Matt Chadder about the course’s future.

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MC: I think we need to draw up a list of the people most relevant to this debate who represent the interests and needs of canoe sport at Holme Pierrepont. Whilst I have direct contact with many interested people, how can we select those most appropriate. It is certainly not just down to me to nominate those people to represent canoesport and I would welcome your help and insight with other projects. I have CC the people currently most involved or relevant in my opinion.

CH: It would seem to me that we are suffering from the lack of an HPP user group. There never has been one dedicated to the HPP WWC but even the one chaired by Albert Woods was disbanded by Sport England without the BCU even being told that it was disbanded. So representatives are those that bubble to the top and are passionate yet sensible and constructive with their approach. In short, the representatives for now are anyone who says they are.

MC: Given EPD are already drawing up plans to be presented on the 11th, do you think it would be more suitable to let them have some ideas, requirements and specifications from the other canoe sport perspectives before hand. Whilst I know that Andy Maddock (World Class Slalom) has kindly passed on the information we presented in May, this is not really a document that relates to specific requirements. I would hope bring this information forward would only help EPD in their planning. I have also asked everyone to stay positive and imagine how good this development could be for everyone.

CH: Yes, by all means let’s have ideas from anyone anywhere, but give them to me to co-ordinate first.

MC: I would suggest the second agenda is more suitable for the meeting with the exception that there should be a specific topic raised for every canoe sport discipline as it is essential to give all users the chance to speak and input at this stage. Indeed these might only be 5 minute presentations but I still think it essential.  We therefore should consider (a) Slalom (b) Freestyle (c) Rafting (d) Recreational Users (e) Safety and Rescue (f) Down River Racing. I would like to point out that as far as I can foresee the rafting section is critically important as this really effects the level of income Nottingham County Council can expect to see after April 09. I would also ask all these people to bring with them a considered document / presentation that is representative of their own athletes / members or customer needs.

CH: Yes, I agree with you. Lets have an hour or two of well argued presentations.

MC: I am unable to attend the meeting on the 18th, nor is James Reeves or Ian Bebbington. Given the importance of the meeting can we not bring it forward to the 12th or 13th or even before the 11th so EPD have a chance to integrate the broader wishes and needs of the group? I know that Andy Maddock has suggested that EPD make their presentation before the users have a chance to contribute – which seems a little back-to-front to me hence this suggestion of moving the meeting forward before the 11th.

CH: These summer meetings are catching me on the hop just like you. I am in Cardiff on the 12th looking into their ideas and on the 13th we are trialling some of the new “In river” features at the Washburn and these have been in my diary for a while. So it has to stay on the 18th for now and we all have to do the best we can.

MC: I think it would be most appropriate to use a room at the main centre building so we can have a round table where everyone shares equal weights and views. I hope that Simon maybe able to organise this for us as indeed he will most likely be in the meeting too?

CH: I agree with you again. We will discuss on Monday the 11th the venue for the 18th.

MC: Finally, I still think we need an over-riding policy statement from the BCU that guides us through this process. For example if we take Paul’s e-mail from yesterday we know he said the BCU wants to “encourage modifications that meet the requirements of the whole canoeing community” Perhaps you can clarify this point before the meeting as it will help everyone stay focused and remain on the same agenda, otherwise we run the risk of different users calling gun shot over certain ideas.

CH: I think Paul’s views are exactly what he says. In short, what you see is what you get with both of us. We both share your concerns. I think it fair to say that we are looking very hard to see how we can do for the best of everyone. I have had no pre-conditions placed on me except to sort things out and make recommendations quickly. Quickly being defined as September 3rd.
Since we, each in our own way know what the HPP WWC means to us right now, we should be able to answer the “What if?” Scenario speedily.

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