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WeBCan General Meeting Minutes
Thursday 2nd Nov 2023 held at the Poppy & Pint


Committee attendees: Marek Korczynski (MK) Paul Abel (PA) Penny Gowland (PG) Chris Harries (CH)

1. Actions agreed at last General Meeting on 10th August

PA reported that he had been unable to find out any more regarding EA plans for their section of the canal;
PG reported that Via’s inspection of the culvert under Lady Bay Bridge Rd has been delayed because the culvert had been too full of water for the inspection to take place.
Work Party lead to organise removal of pulled reed waste bags, using services of Grantham Canal Society (if needed) and the far bank of the canal for disposal of reed taken from the area beyond the spillway;
PA reported that he had been unable to find out any more regarding environmental approval from CRT for using black plastic membrane as a reed suppressant;
PA reported that he had been unable to find out any more regarding the possibility of there being a (leaking) plug in the canal but the next steps would be covered later in the meeting;
MK had submitted grant applications East Midlands Airport Foundation & Lady Bay Community Fund & was preparing a submission to the RBC Biodiversity Grant.

2. Committee Changes & Forthcoming Events

PA appointed as interim Secretary, until either Kathleen Dunmore is able to resume her position, or the next AGM (whichever is soonest).
Room reserved for Christmas Get-Together at Poppy & Pint on 14th December
AGM date arranged for 4th April 2024. New Committee members will be welcome.

3. Partnership with Canal & RiverTrust
Chris Harries reported on our tour of the canal with Jaco Kruger, the Canal & River Trust’s community liaison officer, and our main point of contact regarding our adopted area of the canal. JK is very amenable and we hope to get keys for the towpath gates which will make it much easier to move equipment and bags used by work parties.

4. Work Party progress & winter plans

PA reported that WeBCan volunteers had now contributed over 2100 hours of work during 27 work parties since the end of July and showed slides (see attached) as to where this had taken place. He explained there were 4 main objectives to address while the weather allows:

Removal of reed opposite the spillway to expose the bed under which the leaking plug may be found;
Clearance of reed blocking the canal on the northern side of Gamston Bridge
Removal of the collapsed willow blocking the canal opposite Eltham Rd Allotments
Removal of Norfolk Reed near Canal House, subject to the availability of funding to cover the cost of black plastic sheeting.

PA thanked a team of 15 volunteers who had worked tirelessly since the end of September and their names are listed at the end of the attached slides.

5. Grants & Fundraising
MK updated the meeting with progress on:
RBC Community Support Grant (a total of £800 now received from 4 local councillors)
East Midlands Airport Foundation (application for funding to meet the cost of a variety of tools has been submitted)
Lady Bay Open Gardens grants (application for funding to meet the cost of printed waste collection bags has been submitted)
RBC Biodiversity Grant (application to cover the cost of black plastic sheeting to be submitted).
RBC Shared Prosperity Fund (subject to discussions with Canal & River Trust)
6. Water Levels
PA reported that he had been unable to continue with daily monitoring of water levels but he was now much more confident as to how leaks can be identified, and potentially repaired.

Discussions with pond experts have informed PA of the need to look for areas in the canal where the gravel bed of the canal is exposed. In these areas, the clay bed will have been degraded and leaks will have sucked the black sludge out of the canal, leaving just gravel on the bed. These gravel areas can then be treated with a water-resistant polymer sealant which blocked the gaps between the grains of gravel.

PA reported that he had tested the sealant, known as Damit, on in a leaking bottle half filled with coarse sand and half with water. Treating the coarse sand was found to reduce the rate of flow through the leaks in the bottle by 95%, the same rate as claimed by the manufacturers.

What we need to do now is:

1) Identify all the areas of the canal where gravel, rather than black sludge is covering the bed
2) Control water levels with the use of sluices at each culvert so we monitor the results of specific repairs
3) Procure the appropriate quantity of Damit and apply the sealant to the areas of the canal where gravel, rather than black sludge us covering the bed
4) Perhaps start with trials (in conjunction with GCS) in the KInoulton area, in the meantime, where the location of leaks is better known. This will help confirm the effectiveness, or otherwise, of Damit before applying to the Lady Bay stretch.

7. Any other Business

Publicise the Christmas Get-Together at the Poppy & Pint, 14th December

October Work Parties Role of Honour
A big Thank You to:
Jez & Pam
Chris & Bev
Margaret Les
Sue & Richard
Chris Holmes

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