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Keeping the channel clear

The Parish Council meeting about South Pool’s pontoon turned out to be better attended than expected so had to be moved to the Village Hall. We considered two issues.

The first was indeed what to do about the pontoon, which was already overcrowded in April and the summer boats had yet to arrive. Should the pontoon be South Pool pontoon 002 reducedextended; or could it be managed better in some way? There were obvious attractions to extending it, although none of the possible ways of doing so were without significant drawbacks. But, in any case, weren’t pontoons like motorways and just created traffic? We settled on sticking with what we had got and trying to manage it locally. There were boats which were not in good order, and some were filled with water (it does rain and perhaps pumping them could be a local employment opportunity): sorting them out and perhaps using longer painters might be all that was needed. We knew whose boats they were. It was worth a try and would not need to involve the Harbour Office.

The second issue – whether to mark the channel up the creek – was more controversial. The creek is beautiful and unspoilt, was there any need for markers? However, the historical perspective was not encouraging. Over the last 80 years, in common with elsewhere in the Harbour, the creek has collected about 1.6m (5ft) more mud – and run-off is likely to increase because modern tractors can plough where horses could not. Whilst the stream might clear some mud away, it could not be expected to do a great deal.

One possibility would be to encourage boats to keep more to the channel, thereby stirring it up and helping keep it clear. This might not work but the fact that the channel still changes demonstrates that the mud is susceptible to being moved, so it is worth a try. Marking the channel may need no more than one or possibly two green buoys (marked “South Pool, 6 knots” for good measure). And having a marked channel should help if we ever have to seek formal permission to capital dredge (normally forbidden and potentially costly). But as a navigable channel is so vital for South Pool (and the Millbrook), marking the channel is what we resolved to put to the June meeting of the parish council.

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