As I See It
Friday, July 16, 2010

Goffstown News editorial right on the mark
Solution to Glen Lake Waterfront needed NOW  

Yesterday, the Goffstown News published an editorial about the Glen Lake Waterfront entitled "When will a solution be found?" (click here to read the editorial).  I think they really hit the mark - again.

This is the third editorial they have written on the subject (see "Reasonable fee a reasonable idea", published April 22nd, and "Nonresident fees at Glen Lake a good idea", published May 6th). 

On Monday night, selectmen decided to create a committee to study the issues at the waterfront and report back in a few weeks.  What's so baffling about their continued delays in making a decision on addressing those issues is that there are two simple solutions staring them in the face, both of which are no-brainers.


The issues are simple to understand and clearly acknowledged by just about everyone in Goffstown:  1) taxpayers are footing the bill for a waterfront park they can rarely access themselves due to the high volume of non-residents occupying the area, 2) the 18 parking spaces along Elm Street are also rarely available to residents, especially when they are occupied not only by non-residents, but also by bicyclists who arrive early in the morning, five or six cars strong, remove their bikes, put on their go-fast suits, and disappear for the day, and 3) constant violations of the Glen Lake Beach ordinance, including the use of alcohol, glass containers and rampant littering.


The solutions are also just as simple to understand:  either 1) charge a parking fee to non-residents to help offset the cost to Goffstown taxpayers for policing, maintenance and upkeep of the waterfront park, or 2) restrict its use to residents only, i.e., make it a town beach as scores of other towns across New Hampshire currently do.

It is important to note that if either solution is implemented:

  • The boat ramp at Glen Lake would remain open to residents and non-residents alike;

  • New Hampshire Fish and Game would continue to stock Glen Lake, and,

  • New Hampshire Marine Patrol would continue to police the lake.

I remain baffled that selectman Steve Fournier seems to be the only one who clearly understands not only the need to resolve the issues there, but the need to do so NOW.  Fournier prefers the simplest solution: a residents-only town beach.  So do I.  And so do 75% of the residents who took our poll on the issue in April.

We already know that selectman David Pierce is against doing anything about the waterfront, as he came right out and told me personally it is his "personal preference" that Glen Lake "remain a regional beach" (see "Pierce invented 'facts' to support his personal preference").  Too bad Pierce doesn't understand that when serving the Goffstown community who elected him to represent their best interests, there's no room for his personal preferences.

Selectmen Phil D'Avanza has been spouting his usual sky-will-fall rhetoric with all sorts of claims - all subsequently proven false - that the lake would no longer be stocked, Marine Patrol would stop patrolling, and restrictions to both beach access or parking would have to be instituted at every other public facility in town.  More D'Avanza nonsense.

As for selectman Nick Campasano and chairman Scott Gross, I am especially surprised at their continued insistence to delay a decision, since both of them - along with Fournier - are usually the other members of our board's clear-thinking trio.


Over the last few years, I've heard scores of residents in Goffstown refer to the Glen Lake Waterfront as "welfare beach".  If selectmen continue to drag their collective feet on addressing the issues there, or ultimately choose to follow Pierce's personal preference and do nothing at all, perhaps we should simply rename the area The Welfare Beach Waterfront.  

Chairman Gross recently lamented my reference to this name, feigning disgust at what he apparently thinks is some sort of reference to the income level of the visitors at Glen Lake.  He should be embarrassed at his foolhardy conclusion. 

What Gross didn't - or couldn't - understand is that the reference is to the very definition of "welfare", a system whereby individuals (non-residents) reap assistance and benefits that are paid for by others (we, the taxpayers).  And that's exactly what's going on at the Glen Lake Waterfront.  We pay to police it, clean it and maintain it for the vast majority of those who actually use it: non-residents.

Another summer is already half gone.  Let's hope something is done before the rest of the summer disappears.


Guy Caron can be reached via e-mail at:

Past Columns by Guy Caron  >>>


DISCLAIMER:  The opinions expressed by Mr. Caron are not necessarily those of the Goffstown Residents Association or its members.

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