GILFORD — A local woman who is proposing the construction of a lighthouse on The Witches had cold water thrown on her idea at a meeting on Monday night.
Joyce Endee, of Gilford, said she wants to put a lighthouse on The Witches in order to make the notorious 32-acre shoal, encountered by unfortunate boaters near Timber Island on Lake Winnipesaukee, more easily avoided. Her suggestion was to form a nonprofit organization to raise the funds necessary to build a lighthouse, which would ultimately be owned by the State of New Hampshire.
After reaching out to Marine Patrol, Endee was advised to hold a public meeting to gauge support for such a measure, which would have to provide broad public benefit in order to achieve the necessary state approvals for construction. She held such a meeting on Monday night at the Gilford Town Hall, where a majority of the attendees agreed with her motivation but disagreed with her conclusion.
“The meeting was well-attended,” Endee said on Tuesday. “The good news is that about everyone agreed that the safety of The Witches needs improvement.”
The bad news, from her perspective, was that only about a third of those who spoke at the meeting thought that a fixed lighthouse was a reasonable way to improve the safety of the area. The rest of those in attendance suggested that “the addition of more buoys and markers would be a better solution,” Endee reported.
She said that about 50 people attended the meeting. They listened to Endee's presentation, then to Captain Tim Dunleavy who advised the crowd of Marine Patrol’s role in the process, and how other state agencies would be involved in the process. Then the floor was opened up, and those who spoke against a lighthouse outnumbered those in favor by a two-to-one ratio.
“I’m very glad that I did hold the meeting. Everyone was happy for the opportunity to speak about it,” Endee said.
She said she isn’t sure yet what the outcome of the meeting will mean for her campaign.
“I want to think about the next step,” she said. “There was nearly unanimous agreement that The Witches needed improvement. I’m happy about that.”