The River Thames Alliance AGM, Henley Rowing Museum, was held on 4th September. Rex Walden represented the RBOA, and reports as follows:
The start of the meeting was delayed as two of the RTA Directors had not arrived one of whom had been expected to act as Chair. It emerged the following day that Pat Fitsimmons and Danylo Kurpil had sent emails in the late afternoon to Michael Shefras (MS) tendering their apologies. One wonders why neither had the courtesy to telephone. In the absence of Ms Fitzsimmons MS took the Chair.
There was a great deal of discussion about the future of the RTA, given the very poor state of the finances. The accounts were discussed in detail. The main reason for the organisation’s financial state is the withdrawal of support by the majority of riparian local authorities, who were the major source of RTA income. Given the pressure on the finances of local government, there are serious doubts that this income will be restored.
MS gave a resume of the RTA’s Waterways Plan and suggested to the delegates that the RTA had to survive to be able to deliver the plan which he believes is essential for the future wellbeing of the Thames.
There was a vote to elect the new board. When this had been concluded, the directors were charged by the members present to deliver in 6 weeks a credible, business plan.
The revelation post the meeting that the Environment Agency have withdrawn their financial support and will no longer have an advisor (effectively a non executive director) on the board raises further questions that the delegates to the meeting were not able to discuss.
The survival of the RTA is still in the balance.