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"Shanty town" boatyard undergoes major clear up
12:00pm Thursday 1st November 2012 in Echo News
BOAT owners have hit back at claims a boatyard has become the “shanty town” of Canvey.
Delighted residents of Bridge Boatyard, in Canvey Road, claim the condition of the yard has vastly improved in the past four months after one of the owners took over temporary management of the site.
Steve Bines, 45, has spent 16 weeks chopping up around 30 boats in an effort to tidy up the run-down site, which is owned by supermarket giant Morrisons.
Staying up well into the early hours, Mr Bines has so far spent around £3,000 hiring skips to remove tonnes of rubbish from the land which has accumulated over the past 20 years.
Mr Bines said: “My grandparents lived here before the great flood, and lived on this river for some 60 years, so the boatyard holds a lot of sentimental value to me. I hate that it had got to this state and just wanted to do something about it.
“When I started the work in June there was upwards of about 100 boats crammed on the site. For years it has been going downhill, and don’t get me wrong there is still a lot of work to do, but this had made a real difference already.
“Who knows, if it gets cleared up enough, maybe one day this could become a site for families to come and enjoy themselves and take a boat trip on the creek.”
Fellow residents, some of which have lived on the boatyard for more than 15 years, say they have never seen the site looking so good.
Bob Grant, 65, who has lived on the boatyard since 1996, said: “The place has been like a rubbish tip for years, but Steve has worked phenomenally hard, and we are all so grateful to him. The transformation is amazing.”
Calls are now being made to make Mr Bines a permanent manager of the site.
Ron Compton, 66, said: “If he can accomplish this much in the space of only four months, imagine what he could do in a year.
“I think everyone here would be thrilled if he managed the site for the foreseeable future, and I could guarantee you wouldn’t be able to recognise the place once he’s finished.”
The boatyard is currently leased to Denise Lawrence and Graham Hurn.