Community Moorings should really be called ‘community owned moorings’ i.e. they are administered and ‘owned’ by a community-run charity (SCIO SC047877) which has a trading agreement with Scottish Canals.
They are an alternative to Scottish Canals as a landlord. As a Community Moorings customer, you will no longer deal with Scottish Canals for your mooring, (but most probably still for your navigation licence, boat safety and insurance checks).
They will be sited on land which is under the control of the charity.
Check out our outline document: Community Owned Moorings Outline – March 2017
What is in it for the Boating Community?
Community-owned moorings are an opportunity to be proactive about an important part of our future on the canals and not rely on Scottish Canals providing everything we want from the boating ‘product’.
They are the chance to design moorings from a boaters’ perspective: perhaps a rural garden mooring or a safe, private city location? We can go back to square one with the design of our moorings and ensure they suit our needs and wants. We get the opportunity to innovate moorings to create value for local communities, for example by growing food for local communities, providing venues for holiday and charity boats, by giving tourists another reason to visit an area.
They are the chance to rely on our own skills and run things the way we would want them run. This gives us the opportunity to cut out the ‘middleman’ and get things done when we need them done. It gives us the chance to truly feel that sense of community that boating life offers by working collaboratively to make boating better.
They are the chance to isolate ourselves from mooring fee uncertainty by locking ourselves into long-term agreements. The future in terms of mooring fees is very uncertain at present and there is a very real chance that some members of our community will be priced off the canals as Scottish Canals seek to increase their income. If our charity had a long-term trading agreement with Scottish Canals, it would give us the power to set predictable mooring fee rates for the foreseeable future.
What is in it for Local Communities?
All of the benefits that the canals bring to local communities are improved when the canals are busy with boats. Without active boats, the canals begin to silt up, get covered in weed and at risk of becoming unused, unloved ‘ditches’. Believe it or not, some communities campaigned to close the canals in the 1960’s because their disuse had led them to become dangerous environments for people to be around.
Active canals attract tourists and other visitors to enjoy the peace and interest in boats cruising and manoeuvring. More people are inclined to use the canals and towpaths when they are busy. Tourists and visitors bring important income to local communities.
Canals are an important part of our heritage and their raison d’etre is as a transport network for boats. Without active boats, they are no longer ‘alive’ and they become museum pieces rather than a constant reminder of an important part of our culture.
Houseboats provide a rare opportunity for affordable home-ownership. Considerably cheaper than houses and flats to buy, houseboats provide a challenging yet rewarding way of life for some.
Canals provide a great location for recreation. Active canals help secure the future of the waterways and towpaths for use by canoeists, runners, walkers, photographers, boaters etc etc.
What is in it for Scottish Canals?
This initiative reflects (Scottish) government priorities e.g. The Land Reform Bill, The Community Empowerment Bill, their progressive agenda – and as Scottish Canals are government-funded they really HAVE TO support it.
Community Moorings will increase vibrancy on the canals, increasing boat numbers and movements thus stimulating secondary income for Scottish Canals e.g. leases, cafes, trips, tourism and generally increase demand for products and services on the canals.
This initiative offers SC a revenue stream with lower overheads & less hassle. Scottish Canals would earn a percentage of the charity’s revenue in return for access to the canals. Scottish Canals would not have to invest the same resources in managing and maintaining the moorings. In effect they will have one company to deal with rather than individual boaters which makes their management of the moorings a lot simpler.
Community Moorings offer the chance for Scottish Canals to support the boating community at a time when boaters are not satisfied with them. In recent years boaters have been up in arms at the way that boating seems to have slipped down the priority list of Scottish Canals. So Community Moorings offer them a way to allow us to help ourselves.