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Last Updated: Friday, 20 October 2006, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Canoe events return in local deal
Canoe generic
Rows about river access saw canoe events cancelled at Llangollen
Canoeists and anglers have struck a deal which will see canoeing events on the River Dee at Llangollen this autumn for the first time in two years.

Contests were cancelled in 2004 after a river access dispute between the Welsh Canoeing Association (WCA) and anglers.

An agreement for three contests has been drawn up by a group representing town businesses and the river's users.

The WCA said it wished the events "every success" but it could not endorse the agreement.

Llangollen had hosted a canoeing event on the Dee for 35 years until 2004, attracting up to 1,200 competitors annually, when disagreement between the WGA and local angling organisations reached deadlock.

Fishing and canoeing events can co-exist but it must be done by local agreements
Dee Valley Users' Group

The WCA, which wants unrestricted access to Welsh rivers, said restrictions on the timing and number of canoe sports events were "unacceptable".

But angling associations, who pay for the rights to use the river, have said the kind of access the WCA wants could not be made to work.

There had been concern that halting canoeing competitions on the Dee was costing the town's traders thousands of pounds in lost revenue.


In November 2004, about 500 canoeists from across the UK marched through the town's one-way system in protest at the competitions' cancellation.

Since then, canoeists in the Dee Valley Users' Group, made up of local businesses and river users, have reached their own agreement with the Llangollen and Maelor Angling Associations over access to the river.

Llangollen river
Llangollen businesses say they lost thousands of pounds

Llangollen will host a national canoe slalom event over the weekend of the 21-22 October and the British Open & Class C International the following weekend, with a third event in November.

The Dee Valley Users Group, led by Jim McConnachie and Mike Dalton, of Nomad Canoes, said they were pleased at the outcome "despite the attitude of the WCA".

They said: "Fishing and canoeing events can co-exist but it must be done by local agreements. Unrestricted access is not an option and the WCA campaign is short-sighted."

'Exclusive groups'

Judith Dodd, Chair of Llangollen Enterprise, described the arrangement as "a victory for common sense".

She said: "Decisions such as these are also vital if the overall balance isn't to be thrown completely out of sync, as to have an over-concentration of one activity on any stretch of water throughout the year would be unworkable."

In a statement on its website, the WCA said it wished the Dee Valley Users' Group "every success at these events" but could not endorse the agreement it had reached with anglers.

It read: "This agreement and the mechanisms contained within it limit participation on the Dee to exclusive groups.

"The opportunity to enjoy a river which is maintained with substantial contributions from the public purse should not be so limited."

The WCA called for legalisation on water access to be introduced, modelled on that in Scotland.

Canoeist demo over river access
21 Nov 04 |  North East Wales
Canoeists say event under threat
13 May 04 |  North East Wales
Canoeing event in jeopardy
17 Jun 03 |  North East Wales

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