Don’t put picnic tables in lake

Duane Hicks

With summer on its way, people have begun swimming at Pither’s Point Park.
But some of those swimmers have been putting picnic tables in the water and leaving them there—and the town wants that to stop.
Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown said late yesterday that five or six times in recent weeks, parks workers have had to fish picnic tables out of the lake after kids dragged them into the water to use as a sort of diving platform, then left them there.
“It costs money to fish them out,” he noted. “They are made for people to have a picnic when they go out there with their family.
“The picnic tables shouldn’t be thrown in the water to be used as diving boards,” Brown stressed, adding swimmers can jump off the government dock or swim at the roped-off area at the riverfront dock closest to the overpass.
Brown said parents should be made aware that using picnic tables in this manner isn’t allowed.
“There’s parents there with the kids, because they’re younger kids, so parents are watching this,” he remarked.
“[The picnic tables] aren’t made for this.”
“Instead of cutting grass or planting flowers, we’re fishing. It costs money,” he reiterated.
“Wasting taxpayer dollars.”
Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft, who noticed youths using the picnic tables in the water while he was on a bike ride out to the Point this past weekend, said he doesn’t know if this practice is a regular occurrence.
But he’s concerned about the tables being left in the water and potentially drifting out into the current.
“There could be a significant danger to boating traffic if these [picnic tables] are allowed to get out into current, possibly go down the river and be struck by a boat and cause an accident,” he warned.
Coun. Wiedenhoeft said the town has chained the tables to trees or posts to prevent this type of thing in the past, but noted this practice limits the usefulness of the picnic tables.
Park users can’t put the tables together if they have a larger gathering, or move them into or out of the shade.
Brown said another issue that has been popping up is people disposing of their household waste in the bear-proof brown garbage containers seen at the local parks and along the waterfront.
While he realizes some people are trying to save themselves the cost of a bag tag, these receptacles are meant for tourists and people using the parks and waterfront to dispose of dog waste and small amounts of garbage (i.e., lunch wrappers and beverage containers) so they don’t litter.
Like the picnic table removal, the faster these containers fill up, the more often the parks crews have to spend changing them.
“It’s kind of sad that they’re doing that,” said Brown.
He noted it’s particularly unpleasant for everyone when people dispose of fish guts in these garbage containers since the smell is so pungent.
Brown said those wanting to get rid of fish guts are better off disposing them on the concrete slab at Seven Oaks (where the lookout tower used to be), as some people have been doing.
This way, the birds clean them up.
“It’s better to do that than put them in the garbage containers because they stink,” he remarked.