SURFSIDE BEACH — Several town residents said Tuesday they don’t want to see boating on ponds in Surfside Beach.
Town Council on Tuesday discussed, but took no action, on whether to allow boats such as canoes, kayaks and paddle boats on the retention ponds in town. A proposed ordinance also would allow boats with non-gasoline engines that do not exceed 18-feet in length on the ponds.
A first reading of the ordinance passed earlier this month, but councilmember’s like Beth Kohlmann had reservations after research and talking to citizens.
“I do not feel comfortable with this,” Kohlmann said. “I think there’s a lot more information we need.”
Some residents at the meeting were opposed to the recreational boating cited safety and health reasons, but a few others spoke in favor of the boats and said the ponds have been used for recreation for years without any major consequences.
``We need to remember that the lakes are what they are because of past and present actions by the town of Surfside Beach. They were labeled lakes not retention ponds,” said Bill Thomas.
Another resident, Anita Hopkins, said the town shouldn’t use the ponds for boating.
“Yes we own that lake, but no we don’t have any business being in it,” she said.
Ron Saunders said the lakes contain hazardous pollutants that would be more likely to reach ocean waters if boats were allowed.
“They’re [the lakes] designed to hold water long enough for impurities to settle to the bottom so the water that flows to our ocean is as clean as it’s going to get,” he said.
He suggested council members discuss the issue with water quality experts such as Susan Libes at Coastal Carolina University, before allowing boats on the water.
Councilman Rod Smith agreed to defer the ordinance, but said he supported the proposed law as written.
“I’m in favor of the ordinance because I think we need to have some order on the lakes. As it is, it’s governed by rumors and to keep the rumors from spreading I think it would be nice to have this ordinance,” he said. “The boats described would be just fine. A lot of people are using it and having a good time and I don’t see any problem with that. I don’t like the town being governed by rumors and innuendo and so forth and so I’m in favor of order.”
Council members did not give a time table for when or if the ordinance would be revisited.
Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381, or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_akelley.