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.
continued Town Board member Fran Heinrich, however, said Monday that an unlocked beach meant the town was exposing itself to lawsuits if someone got hurt or drowned after hours.
Local resident Vinny Kostolni said at the meeting that if someone got hurt on the waterfront behind the locked gates, the town might face even greater liability.
Diamond Point resident Shelby Cromwell said that the beach and park were established by the town to prevent the super-rich summer residents from privatizing all the lake’s beachfront and excluding the local citizens.
“This was originally set up for the people who don’t live on Millionaire’s Row — you’re discriminating against year-round residents,” she said.
Heinrich said the board had received complaints that people were drinking there after hours, jumping off buildings, and vandalizing property there.
Cromwell said that that the problems with illegal behavior and vandalism were due to non-residents who weren’t allowed on the beach anyway — and they’d merely jump the fence if necessary to get in.
McGarry said the town should enforce their “residents only” rule, and check identification, particularly on the busy times.
McGarry said that there shouldn’t be any time restriction, as the property was deeded to the townspeople as a park, which should be open to the public.
“This beach was given to the people of Lake George, and not to the town, board, and we want it back,” she said.
Resident Carol Tanner said she’d lived at Diamond Point for 37 years, and her family members and other local residents enjoyed kayaking, fishing and meditating at the beach during early morning and evening hours.
Diamond Point resident Jen Matteo said she had bought her property because of the waterfront access. She said her family members enjoyed going to the beach in the morning, drink coffee, and watch the boats and enjoy the scenery.