AN IMPROVEMENT scheme for Ellesmere Port’s waterfront will save the borough council many hours of manpower.
The council’s resources committee has decided to enter into a management agreement with the Waterways Trust over the area by the boat museum.
This will see trust staff operating the swing bridge and ship lock gates instead of council officers. The trust would then keep the income from existing moorings and any new ones.
Council asset manager Paula Maccabee explains in a report: “We currently have mooring rights in the Lower Basin. Moorings are only permitted for storage, not residential, and there are no facilities for boat users.
“We are also currently responsible for operating both swing bridges and the ship lock gates.
“The whole operation requires one council officer operating the swing bridge and two officers opening the lock gates. The opening of these gates is a manually intensive and time-consuming exercise.
“This would normally take approximately four hours to complete for one boat entering the Lower Basin. This time is repeated when the boat wants to leave.”
These bridges and gates have been opened 10 times since April this year, with the number increasing to 16 by the end of August.
Because of the nature of the boating season, this is mainly at weekends and bank holidays.
Miss Maccabee adds: “The Waterways Trust is looking at ways of improving the vitality and number of visitors to the area.
“One way of improving the overall management of the area is to enter into an agreement with them whereby their on-site staff manage the moorings in both the boat museum and Lower Basin areas.
“In return for this, the Trust staff would operate the swing bridge and ship lock gates as and when necessary.”