Public information session being held for personal watercraft on North Pond

SOUTHWICK – A public informational session regarding personal watercraft on North Pond will take place on March 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Southwick Town Hall.

At a Select Board meeting in August 2017, Chairman Doug Moglin proposed that they form a town bylaw for personal watercraft use on North Pond. Currently, the Select Board is in the process of forming a bylaw for the upcoming annual town meeting in May. It will require a majority vote from the registered voters in town.

A public informational session will take place on March 27 about a proposed town bylaw for personal watercraft use on North Pond. (WNG File Photo)

Although nothing is set in stone yet, Moglin said there has been an idea of what the bylaw could entail. The board has thought about allowing personal watercraft onto North Pond at headway speed, which is six miles per hour. That would allow watercraft users to go through North Pond and reach Middle Pond where they could operate at a higher speed.

Despite that idea, Moglin said that the purpose of the informational meeting is to allow residents to voice their thoughts, questions and concerns about the matter.

“A lot of it is going to depend on the feedback we get at the meeting,” said Moglin.

This entire situation stems back to May 18, 2017 when Harbormaster and Southwick Police Chief David Ricardi posted on the Southwick Police Department’s Facebook Page that there had been a change made in the enforcement policy for personal watercraft use and they would be allowed on North Pond.

Since then, there have been a number of meetings held by the Lake Management Committee, residents voicing their opinions during the public comment section of Select Board meetings, as well as a petition that was formed by a resident to make an attempt to keep personal watercraft from being used on North Pond.

“The most dangerous thing on that (Congamond) lake is someone that doesn’t know how to operate the vessel they are in,” said Chief Ricardi.

With the fact that there is no bylaw for personal watercraft on North Pond, Moglin hopes that a town bylaw could help enforce personal watercraft use and give law enforcement a law to follow.

“Once we can get a bylaw on the books, then we have something the police can act upon,” said Moglin. “We have to do something about it.”

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