Lake Management Committee readies for active season

Middle Pond of Congamond Lakes. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS PHOTO)

SOUTHWICK – The Lake Management Committee met on May 13 as it gears up for an active 2021 season.

Items reviewed at the meeting included the permit and funding to build a boathouse for the Southwick Police Department on state land. The police department is looking for ways to fund the construction outside of town funds. Lake Management Committee Chair Richard Grannells said there is a lot of grant funding available for water, sewer and safety projects and there may be a way to fund it through grants.

A request to have jet ski rentals at the public dock was found to be prohibited by state regulations, which state that the facility cannot be used for any purpose other than the intended use, and prohibits commercial, trade activity, selling or dealing in wares, or conducting any rental of canoes, kayaks or other watercraft.

The committee recognized Southwick police divers for fixing the chains on both docks which had become twisted. Grannells said the divers will also be putting helical anchors on the buoys in the sand bar.

Regarding buoy lights, Grannells said he did more checking, and found the Amazon light is not Coast Guard approved. He said they will be getting low profile lights from Rolyan, who made the buoys, and the lights mount on existing holes. “The fact that they’re low and domed, make them not as good targets for vandals,” he said, adding they cost as much as the buoys.

“The real issue is enforcement of not giving people warnings. When they damage the buoys and the police see it, they have to hand out tickets. We need to request more enforcement, not just a slap on the wrist,” Grannells said, adding the committee spent $4,000 this year just on buoys. Committee members said they will also look into putting cameras on beaches around the sand bars.

Grannells said the Special Town Meeting and Annual Town Meeting will be held on May 18 at 6 p.m. and 6:15 p.m., outside at the high school, with an alternate date of May 20 if the weather is bad. “I hope to see all voters attend and support the lakes area and the town,” he said, adding that the committee budget is among other items on the warrant.

The committee has also asked the Citizens Restoring Congamond (CRC) and the Conservation Commission to support a grant request for dredging upstream in the Great Brook and Canal Brook. CRC President Michelle Pratt said they had “made a plug” for the specific articles at the town meeting, including $5,000 to be moved to a different account for flood control.

Pratt said CRC is also looking for members. She said they are hoping to host the boat parade this year as COVID is no longer restricting fishing tournaments and boating activities, if they can get the permits going.

“People are really looking forward to it,” she said.

The CRC Annual Memorial Golf Tournament is scheduled for Sept. 25 at Edgewood Golf Course, followed by a celebration at the Brass Rail. Registration is $100 and may be made online at Congamond.org. They are also looking for business and memorial sponsorships.

Grannells said the Lake Management Committee is also looking for sponsors of Memorial Benches at the North Ramp. He said there are three there now, and a fourth will be installed shortly. Memorial inscriptions may be made on one, two or three boards on the bench, with up to 22 characters on the board. He said they are made from recycled plastic, and are very durable and well made, with a solid core. The cost is $1,100, which includes the message, assembly and installation. Anyone interested may contact him, he said.

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