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Big Island protesters let opportunity slip out of their fingers

To The Daily Sun,

After nine years of surveying all opinions of townstolk in the The Daily Sun, I'm forced to write my first letter to express my disappointment to the Laconia Zoning Board and the majority of my neighbors in the Paugus Park area. You all let an opportunity to preserve Big Island in how it looks now slip through your fingers forever over concerns of safety, boat traffic, light pollution and strain on city services.

Let's address these. There are two beaches in South Down Shores and Long Bay, and at least a dozen swim platforms along Paugus Park Road. To my knowledge, nobody has been run down by an illegal boat too close to shore. You state boat traffic to Big Island and Paugus Park Marina is too much for the area. Seriously, though I've never done a traffic count, I'm sure on weekends it's well over a thousand boats that pass through the area each day with at least half that many of weekdays. A few trips daily to Big Island is literally a drop in the bucket.

Light pollution: looking from Weirs Boulevard, South Down Shares is lit up like an airport runway, the brightest lights along the entire west shore of Paugus Bay only 600 feet from the island. Do you really think some low-level lighting would add to pollution? Not so.

As to a strain on city services, Laconia has a rescue boat docked less than a mile away at the Water Works on Union Avenue, much closer than rescue units in other towns with island camps.

Are you going to stop all future development in South Down Shores or along Van Buren Avenue, or limit private homes from having too many guests so as not to strain the sewage pump station? Do you really believe an extra 60 people on the system can overwhelm it? Ludicrous.

Noise: let's face it, as the sound engineer testified, the current background noise with all the boat traffic, the forklift at South Down Shores, the seaplane, the tourist train, other kids using the private beaches, you would never know the camp is there. The design presented by Rosi Dennet has all the building inside a tree buffer so the island would remain looking as it does now. LEt's see how you all enjoy the view after the island get developed to full potential.

Let's talk for a moment about all the good the camp can provide. It would be a feather in our cap for a nice Laconia, and to the local economy, provide seasonal jobs for counselors. Giving a few hundred girls a great experience they can remember for a lifetime, some of whom can return years later for vacation or become residents.

Lastly, I need to thank Suzanne Perly, who kept the unruly crowd in control as they didn't respect my time at the podium, as I did theirs.

Mike DellaVecchia, RN

Member, Laconia Planning Board

Little Island, Paugus Bay

  • Written by Ginger Kozlowski
  • Category: Letters
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