Last week Afloat.ie reported on the launch of the public consultation on changes to the Draft Canals Act 1986 (Amended) Bye-Laws that cover the Grand Canal, Royal Canal and Barrow Navigation, which closes in less than a fortnight on 3 February.
At a recent meeting of the association to discuss the proposed regulation changes, IWAI president Carmel Meegan spoke out against the imposition of "high charges" to boat traffic that would drive waterway users away.
"The proposed bye-laws do not put user requirements, tourism development and local communities at the centre of the regulations," she said at the meeting in Naas last Saturday 18 January.
In a statement, the IWAI emphasised that the proposed new boat-hostile bye-laws "are a major threat to the community economic gain of boat travel" in the canals, and pointed out that access to the 'Green & Silver" tourism route on the Grand and Royal Canal, the Shannon and Dublin waterways "is also in jeopardy".
It added: "The boating community is not averse to appropriate management, facility provision and access to waterways. But boats are key attractions, as the lifeblood of the navigators, and need to be welcomed."
In addition, the IWAI bemoaned the short consultation period of just 21 working days for the bye-law proposals, compared to the longer consolation for the Waterways Ireland draft Corporate Plan 2014-2016 that runs till 31 March.
The association urges its members to get involved in the consultation before the closing date on 3 February.