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Canoe club says funding for dam works could come partly from sports funds

Weir - Colchester Castle Park'taki Middle Mill barajı geçen yılın Aralık ayında çöktü <i>(Image: Liam Winters)</i>” bad-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/hWxXK38VxiXqSlo_6fC9Iw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/colchester_evening_gazette_178/d3b9e5b4945fb2107b960ed95a7b7cc2″ src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/hWxXK38VxiXqSlo_6fC9Iw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/colchester_evening_gazette_178/d3b9e5b4945fb2107b960ed95a7b7cc2″/><button class=

Weir – Middle Mill dam in Colchester Castle Park collapsed in December last year (Image: Liam Winters)

A CANOE club says a collapsed dam has left “inherent hazards” in the water and is preventing the club from accepting new members.

Canoe club in Colchester suffered serious disruption to their daily routines due to the collapse of the Middle Mill dam last December.

More than 200 days after the incident, Colchester Council has put forward three possible options for the dam: a smaller rebuild, replacement with a similar structure or removal for ‘re-naturalisation’ purposes.

At the city council’s review board meeting, canoe club members told councillors how much damage the club has suffered since the collapse.

Impact – Canoe club directly affected by dam collapse (Image: Colchester Canoe Club)

Club President Amanda Gilmore said that since its establishment, the club has reached approximately 30,000 children and 50,000 adults, introducing them to the joy of water sports.

He said: “Over the last two years we have looked closely at our core demographic with a view to expanding our services. A number of our members have joined us from disadvantaged backgrounds. With the provision of equipment, kit and coaching, a number of us have been able to achieve outstanding results and represent our country at competition level.”

Ms Gilmore described the social value of the club but said current plans were on hold.

He said: “In the short term, we cannot access the river for safety reasons. In the long term, our ability to execute our plan is entirely dependent on water levels.

“The current water level has left inherent hazards that we cannot mitigate to bring in new paddlers.”

There is increasing interest in canoeing and rowing and the Colchester club produces a number of talent who have represented the country in international competitions.

Mrs Gilmore said: “The collapse of the structure was a disaster for many reasons, one of which was the complete loss of our club’s activities.”

Members – president Amanda Gilmore, club treasurer Steve Waters, club equipment manager Liam Robson and club head coach Sara Barwich (Image: Colchester Canoe Club)

Liaison officers explained that potential funding from Sport England could be used for dam repairs.

Council leader David King said: “We understand the impatience some people feel with Sir Bob, but I know we are doing everything we can.

“You can’t underestimate how difficult it is to navigate anything that involves regulation and a variety of different agencies. We’re going to have to find the right balance between being patient enough and impatient enough to get cooperation.”

Mr King said he was in talks with Essex Highways, which owns and manages the footbridge, and wanted a representative to visit the site before any further action, “so they could see and feel the experience and the loss first hand”.