Whether or not to lock up Diamond Point Beach when no lifeguards on duty — an action taken recently by the lake George Town Board to ward off potential lawsuits — has angered local residents, who say they are being discriminated against and that the town board is misinterpreting state law.
Photo by Thom Randall.
LAKE GEORGE Off-hour access to Diamond Point Beach was restored Tuesday July 10 about 12 hours after a heated confrontation occurred between the board and Lake George citizens angry over a gate that has been locked in recent weeks during evening and early morning hours.
For about a month, the town has padlocked a gate to the Diamond Point Beach prior to 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. daily, citing that state Health Department rules — and the town’s insurance company — required access to be restricted.
Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson said Wednesday July 11 that access was restored Tuesday after town board members had conversations with representatives of both the Health Department and the town’s insurance underwriter.
“We had been put on notice we were in violation of Health Department regulations, and we needed to resolve the issues,” he said. “The town board never wanted to close down the beaches — we are most interested in opening access wherever possible to our public facilities.”
Diamond Point residents had angrily criticized the lockdown at the Monday meeting, sparring with town officials. One woman wept as she voiced her objections.
Tuesday morning, the gate had been removed, and town Buildings & Grounds supervisor Jim Martino reported the gate as stolen — but another town employee had removed it for repairs, Dickinson said.
Monday evening at the board meeting, Diamond Point residents, including Ann McGarry, said the board was misinterpreting state regulations, and their beach was being singled out in the lockdown.
“We are outraged,” McGarry said, noting that dozens of other beaches both in the town and elsewhere in the region weren’t gated and locked after hours. “This is discriminatory, illegal, and can’t continue.”
She said a state Health Department official assured her that all that was required to protect the town’s off-hours liability was a sign prohibiting after-hours swimming — an opinion that was apparently conveyed to the board members on Tuesday.