|Lifeguards on Duty at North Adams' Windsor Lake This Weekend|
|By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff |
02:30PM / Wednesday, July 03, 2019
|Lifeguards will be on duty starting July 4 at Windsor Lake. |
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Lifeguards will be on duty this holiday weekend at Windsor Lake.
The city has contracted with Northern Berkshire Family YMCA to provide lifeguards for the public beach three days a week this summer and on the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays.
Lifeguards will be on duty from noon to 5 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning on Thursday's holiday.
"It will be a guarded beach during those hours and unguarded at the other times, when it will be swim at your own risk," said Administrative Officer Michael Canales on Wednesday.
The administration had decided against using lifeguards this summer in part because of the difficulty in scheduling them and the general trend of states and municipalities making facilities "use at your own risk." State parks haven't had lifeguards in years and neither do many other local waters, including the city's own Historic Valley Campground at the lake, often known as Fish Pond. Pittsfield, however, still staffs Onota Lake's popular Burbank Park from 10 to 5 on Wednesdays through Sundays through Aug. 18.
While the Windsor Lake Recreation Commission had not lodged opposition to the move, the City Council was decidedly hostile to the idea. The information had come up at a Finance Committee meeting and the committee's chairman, Marie T. Harpin, attempted a financial maneuver during the approval of the fiscal 2020 budget to restore funds for the lifeguards.
Harpin's attempts to cut funds out of two line items for the airport to pressure the Mayor Thomas Bernard to restore the lifeguards succeeded: the mayor agreed to reconsider the idea and look at reserve funds as a possible funding source.
Canales said the local camps that use the public beach bring their own lifeguards — there are more rigorous requirements for camps in this regard. They usually swim during the early part of the week but Canales cautioned that while the camp lifeguards may be on site, the beach is still considered "unguarded" during those times.