Scottish Canals gains new board appointments

A key stretch of the Forth and Clyde Canal at Twechar
A key stretch of the Forth and Clyde Canal at Twechar

Scottish Canals - the body in charge of Falkirk’s landmark waterways - is to gain two new board members, and one re-appointment.

The news comes amid concern over the future of the canals network, which is said to be battling to cope with a £70million repairs backlog in a system laden with historic but dilapidated assets.

Carolyn Sawyers and Wilma Kelly join as non-executive directors, while Martin Latimer is re-appointed.

Ms Sawers is currently the Deputy Chief Executive of the Corra Foundation which makes grants to and works with community groups and charities across Scotland.

She was previously the head of policy and learning with the Big Lottery Fund in Scotland, and is said to bring experience in strategy development and delivery along with knowledge of the voluntary sector and social enterprise.

Wilma Kelly. currently a board member at the Clyde Valley Housing Associaion, is an experienced businesswoman with over 20 years experience as a director and non-executive director in global utilities and consultancy.

Martin Latimer has been involved in waterfront regeneration, development and stakeholder relations at director and managing director level in the Scottish marine leisure industry for more than 40 years.

He has been on the Board of Scottish Canals since its formation in 2012, and “brings a passion for regeneration and community development to the Board, as well as an understanding of boating as a user of the canals”.

Their appointments will be for three years, and carry pay of £240 per day for a time commitment of up to 20 days per year.

Scottish Canals was recently awarded a Scottish Government grant of £1.6million to cover work which will include repairs to Bonnybridge and Twechar.

However it has been accused by pressure group Keep Canals Alive! of failing to meet its statutory obligations by allowing canals to fall into disrepair.

It’s recently-published strategy document makes clear that canals navigation in the Falkirk area cannot be guaranteed, as a priorities system - led by public safety - will determine where and how cash will be spent.