Canalival 2014 cancelled but police presence angers owners forced to move their canal boats

Regents Canal. Photo:Deana Georgas

Regents Canal. Photo: Deana Georgas

After all the talk on social media, Canalival did not take place on Saturday.

Police who were on standby around the Regents canal, providing back up to the Canal and River Trust, said: “If anyone turns up and look like they’re here for Canalival they’ll get a Section 27,which is a direction to leave [the area around the canal]. If they come back within 48 hours they’ll be arrested. These are the powers we’re using to try and stop it.”

Locals seemed to be going about their normal Saturday business, running, biking, and walking along the canal, which was still open to the public.

But boathouse owners complained that they were forced to move down the canal and away from Old Ford Lock where pedestrian access was shut off and fenced.

Towpath closed. Photo: Deana Georgas

Towpath closed. Photo: Deana Georgas


Michal Gorski, 39, an environmental engineer and musician, who lives on a boat on the canal, was getting ready to move his boat down the canal. He said: “If the police expect a disturbance in the area, and they tell you to clear away, you better clear away or you’ll be arrested. I don’t think that’s fair.”

Michal Gorski. Photo: Deana Georgas

Michal Gorski. Photo: Deana Georgas


He continued:  “This is total oppression. We came hear to party and make a beautiful festival together. And there’s police everywhere. I’ve been hassled by 15 guards today to move my boat. We have no other option otherwise we will be punished”

 Gorski added:” We have 1000’s of people on the dinghies, what do we need to make this happen? Toilets and trash. That’s the council’s business, easy business. And, they complain about protecting the environment, which we do protect.

He continued: “I didn’t see any diminishing of the environment or real damages to nature after last Canalival. The only problem was people moaning about people urinating in their kid’s garden, and fair enough, but that’s a problem that can be fixed easily!”

One, local resident who lives right on the canal, told ELL:

“I think it should happen. I was living on a boat last year and just thought ‘Wicked – why not?’  I get the point of the wildlife, but at the same time, why can’t the public enjoy the canal? So, I’m for it.”

He asked to stay completely off record because he ‘s part of the: “small canal community” .

Stephanie Zuure, 24 year old student, and resident recalled the event last year:

“Our entire street smelled like urine. The next day there was rubbish everywhere. But, there’s always rubbish around the canal. I think if it was organized better it would be good. I think it’s a cool event but I understand that as it is, it can’t work.”

Others did not feel  that the police presence was oppressive and unnecessary.


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