File photo

File photo

Lakefront residents ‘need to be reminded’ about public access

Ponoka County discusses promises of public access at Meridian Beach

Ponoka County’s reeve believes some residents need to have a greater regard for the public’s right to beach access.

Reeve Paul McLauchlin reacted with distaste when Coun. Doug Weir said he has received calls from some Meridian Beach residents wanting a gate at the entrance to the development.

“I got calls from some individuals in the area that Meridian Beach is polling its citizens about putting a gate on the main entrance,” said Weir.

McLauchlin noted the Meridian Beach project was only made possible through an agreement to maintain public access.

“Part of the problem is that whole development was predicated on the promises made about public access,” McLauchlin said.

“I think there are a lot of new people there who need to be reminded of the promises that were made about those public facilities. I know people who have tried to use those beaches have been harassed.

“There seems to be an attitude issue among some out there. I think those who started the development made those offers in good faith, but that there has been a change and (those residents) need to be reminded of that public access.”

The county’s fire chief, Dennis Jones, was asked his opinion, and he said he is not in favour of gated communities.

“I don’t think there is a public service that likes them,” he said, referring to emergency responders.

He cited the nearby Raymond Shores development as an example of a gated community.

“I go out annually to test the lock box and the key. It works 90 per cent of the time. But, there are instances when we have to go assist EMS and, depending on the nature of the incident, every second counts.

“The residences aren’t occupied all of the time, and if the gates freeze, the minutes it takes to get in can determine whether or not people or the building can be saved. And that liability can come back on us as to why we didn’t get there sooner.”

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