Lake wakes dis­cus­sion washes over com­mit­tee

The Weekly Vista - - News - KEITH BRYANT kbryant@nwadg.com

The Prop­erty Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion lakes joint ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee talked about boat wakes dur­ing its July 19 meet­ing.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to­day,” com­mit­tee mem­ber Rick Yor­man said.

The com­mit­tee unan­i­mously ap­proved Matthew Cham­pagne for chair­man and Kelly Austin for vice chair­man, while keep­ing Lloyd Walker as sec­re­tary.

POA staff at­tor­ney Doug McCash said the as­so­ci­a­tion may need to con­sider re­vis­ing wake rules on lakes. The as­so­ci­a­tion has re­ceived com­plaints, he said, that wakes are caus­ing prop­erty dam­age.

“We’ve had some com­plaints about wake­board boats,” he said.

“With the ad­di­tional com­plaints we wanted to come back and look at this again … Are our rules ad­e­quate?” McCash asked.

Yor­man said it might be wise to reach out to the wa­ter sport as­so­ci­a­tion to dis­cuss what sort of dam­age these wakes can do and how to con­tain them.

Cur­rently, he said, boaters are per­mit­ted to gen­er­ate wakes if they are 100 feet or more from the shore, but this is not prov­ing ad­e­quate.

In par­tic­u­lar, he said, wake­board boats, which take on more wa­ter as ad­di­tional bal­last so they can dis­place more wa­ter and pro­duce large wakes, are caus­ing waves that can dam­age prop­erty and sweep peo­ple off docks.

Char­lie Phillips came to the meet­ing to speak about the is­sue. He lives on Lake Ann, he said, and he sees the shore­line re­ced­ing over time, largely be­cause of wakes.

“Where I live, I see my land wash out ev­ery day,” he said. “When a big wake comes by it just clouds up and then you see the wa­ter leave.”

POA board mem­ber John Nut­tall said that the best idea he has heard is sim­ply to in­crease the dis­tance at which boats are per­mit­ted to gen­er­ate wakes, but this isn’t a per­fect so­lu­tion. In­creas­ing that dis­tance, he said, ef­fec­tively shrinks the us­able por­tion of the lake for any­one whose ac­tiv­ity de­pends on gen­er­at­ing one.

Wake­board­ing, he said, is an ac­tiv­ity with more appeal among younger res­i­dents, who are mov­ing to Bella Vista in larger num­bers.

Ad­di­tion­ally, he said, reg­u­lat­ing based on the type of boat may not be ef­fec­tive. As of right now, he said, there are es­ti­mated to be five wake­board boats in the vil­lage.

McCash sug­gested the rules should be based on waves pro­duced rather than the type of boat be­ing used.

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