Tag: Venice

Nativa by Arzanànavi

The Nativa is a super yacht built by Arzanànavi. It is quite often moored at the Certosa island from where we do our kayaking tours.

Kayaking ban in Venice – the city’s proposal

Kayaking ban in Venice – the city’s proposal

The City of Venice has issues a wide ban on kayaks, canoes, SUPs, dragon boats and more. Yesterday I had a meeting with a representative of the municipal government, sufficiently high up in the hierarchy to be able to influence municipal policies. While the meeting […]

Kayaking ban in Venice – dialogue with the city administration

Kayaking ban in Venice – dialogue with the city administration

Venice has issued a ban on kayaks, canoes, dragon boats and more, which is effective from Sunday, March 1st.

Currently it is illegal to go by kayak, canoe or dragon boat on the Grand Canal and several other canals in the city.

As a consequence, the city’s canal network has been cut to pieces, from a kayaker’s point of view, where it is not longer possible to go from one part to another.

Today I have had a meeting with the city official who have signed the new regulations, and it was not as bad as I had anticipated.

As things stand now, the ban is there and it is an offence to even paddle across the no-go canals.

However, the city administrators have finally understood that they have made a mistake by issuing a blanket ban like they have. Being unable to turn back, there will be a modification to the new rules, which will give kayaks, canoes and dragon boats more room so it will be possible to move around the city in a reasonably rational way.

In short, there will be some points on the no-go canals where passage will be allowed, most notably on the Grand Canal.  There will be some limits on when you can pass, it’ll be mostly in the afternoon, and maybe even on who can pass, for example a requirement that there is a qualified coach in a group of kayaks.

It is my hope that they will also allow passage, at least in the afternoon, on parts of the lower Canal Grande, so we can still visit the ancient gondola shipyards in the Dorsoduro area, which will otherwise be unreachable.

While this will not be a perfect solution, it will be a marked improvement on the no-exceptions-allowed ban they have made for now.

Bureaucracy

The current rules banning kayaks etc from the Grand Canal and more, are not made by the city administration alone, and the city administration cannot therefore change them alone.

The changes from February 11th were published after a meeting of what they call a conferenza dei servizi, where all the different public bodies meet to coordinate.

A change to the new rules will have to pass the same way. This means that there will be a meeting on March 12th, where a commission will meet to prepare everything for the next meeting of the conferenza dei servizi, where a change can be formally decided.

Once we get there, we’ll know what they’ll come up with.

I do not know the date of the next meeting of the conferenza dei servizi, but I’ve been told that they’re normally held once a month.

Legal Challenge

The legal challenge to the kayaking ban in Venice will not stop before the city administration publishes what exactly they intend to do, and they cannot do that before the meeting of the conferenza dei servizi has met, and at than point they have also decided.

There will be no public hearing, beside the kind of privately requested meetings with city officials, like the one I had today.

The Arcobaleno association has no intend of backing down before they know what the new rules will be, so the process will go forward.

The collection of funds in support of the legal challenge continues.

 The meeting

My appointment today was  on behalf of my company Venice Kayak,  so I did not represent anybody else there.

Besides explanations about what we’re doing — kayaking excursions in Venice lead by qualified guides, and not any kind of rental to whoever shows up — the discussion was mostly about what kind of modifications we would need to be able to continue our work.

This maps shows the ‘dispensations’ we’ll need to be able to carry on in the way we have done now in seven years, without accidents or conflicts.

Venice kayaking ban - suggested changes

Summarised we need

  • a few passages on inner city canals to connect the otherwise detached segments of the city’s canal network,
  • some predetermined points where we can cross the Grand Canal, on each of the three parts of the canal, and
  • the possibility of transiting on a part of the lower Grand Canal to reach otherwise unreachable areas.

For now we’re crossing our fingers, hoping for the best.

If the city administration cannot come up with a working solution for us and the other paddlers in Venice, we will have no choice but the throw all our effort at the legal challenge the Arcobaleno association is preparing.

Kayaking ban in Venice – legal challenge

Kayaking ban in Venice – legal challenge

Venice has issued a ban on kayaks, canoes, dragon boats and more, which will be effective from Sunday, March 1st. This ban will harm the activities of several groups. The local kayaking association Arcobaleno has initiated a legal challenge to the new regulation banning kayaks […]

Kayaking ban in Venice – where and how to help

Kayaking ban in Venice – where and how to help

Venice has issued a ban on kayaks, canoes, dragon boats and more, which will be effective from Sunday, March 1st. This ban will harm the activities of several groups. All of these groups, together with the Italian Federation for Canoe and Kayak (FICK) and other […]

Who’s affected by the new prohibitions in Venice

Who’s affected by the new prohibitions in Venice

The new regulations banning kayaks, canoes and dragon boats will affect quite a few clubs and activities in Venice.

The association Venice Canoe & Dragon takes (or rather, has taken) school kids in dragon boats through the city. Until now they have done so for 9000 kids, but that is a thing of the past now. Now the kids cannot experience the city on water from the water any more, unless they take a taxi.

The Pink Lionesses of Venice is an association for women who are survivors of breast cancer. Their pink dragon boat was once a common sight on the Grand Canal, but they too will have to paddle elsewhere.

Several of the rowing clubs based on the mainland will no longer be able to row or paddle in the Grand Canal. This also seems to apply to Venetian rowing, if the club is not based in Venice city or on the lagoon islands. This will affect the Società Canottieri Mestre and, I believe, the Voga Veneta Mestre, both well respected members of the Venetian rowing community.

All the individuals, clubs, associations and companies from outside Venice, that used to do the occasional tour to Venice in kayak, canoe or dragon boat will now face a fine if they venture onto the Grand Canal or any of the no-go canals in the future.

Due to the massive exodus from Venice towards the mainland during the last decades, there are actually more Venetians living in Mestre and Marghera than in Venice proper, and they will now be excluded from experiencing their native city as it was always intended, in a rowed by from the water.

At a cultural level, this new ban in a blow to the heart of everything that is Venetian.

My company Venice Kayak will at least be impeded by the published ban on kayaking on the Grand Canal, but we will probably be less hurt than the others, since we can still use some of the smaller canals in the city, where dragon boats cannot go.

“Detourism” in Venice

“Detourism” in Venice

The City of Venice has a project they call “Detourism” supposedly promoting sustainable tourism in Venice. They describe it this way: Travel Venice like a local DETOURISM  is a new project of the City of Venice for curious travellers who enjoy wander off the beaten […]

Kayaking ban in Venice

Kayaking ban in Venice

The City of Venice has published a modification to the city traffic rules, which bans kayaks, canoes, dragon boats and others from navigating certain canals. The relevant text is this: Nei Rii principali interni di collegamento: Canal Grande, Cannaregio, Giardini, Greci – San Lorenzo, – […]

Venice about to ban kayaks in the city

Venice about to ban kayaks in the city

Ever since the fatal accident in August 2013 there has been a lot of debates about what to do to make boat traffic safer in Venice.

There has been little change in the year and a half since the accident. All changes have been blocked or sabotaged by the various vested interests in the city: the taxi cooperatives, the transporters, the gondolieri and the city administration itself, through the public transport company ACTV.

In short, nobody has wanted to give any concessions to make the city’s waterways safer for everybody.

Traffic today is more chaotic than ever.

Change is on the way, it seems. Articles in local papers refer to new regulations, which has not, however, been published on the city web site.

This might be a thing of the past
This might be a thing of the past

The new rules would (it seems) prohibit the passage of kayaks, canoes, SUPs, water cycles, dragon boats, yole and even some types of traditional Venetian boats (‘sandolini’), in the Grand Canal and about a dozen of other unspecified city canals.

Already published changes include limitations of the movement of all kinds of rowing boats on the Grand Canal, including the traditional Venetian boats from the local rowing clubs.

Venice is selling its soul for short term profit.

Now, how come such draconian changes come just now?

The thing is that Venice has no elected city administration. The former mayor fell on a corruption charge, and the entire city council sent in their resignation. Without a city council, the city is governed by a state appointed official until the next local elections in May this year.

The city is therefore run by people who have no knowledge of local affairs and traditions, and it seems they just try to manage by finding compromises acceptable to the most powerful lobbies.

When changing the rules, the city administrators have heard the taxi cooperatives, the transporters and the gondolieri, but they have failed to communicate with the local rowing clubs or any other with interests in how the city traffic operates.

Venice is ruled by the lobbies now.

We all know how it’ll end when decisions are taken exclusively based on short term economic interests. This does not bode well for Venice.

Contorted Venice

Contorted Venice

In the 1960s a deep canal was dug across the Venetian lagoon to give access to bigger ships to the commercial harbour at Marghera, and since then Venice has been flooded by ever more frequent and ever higher tides. To counter this threat to Venice’s […]