Big Alum Lake Association Meeting
July 2, 2016
The meeting was called to order at 10:05 A.M.
The minutes of the August 22, 2015 meeting, copies of which were available
at the meeting and on the BALA web site, were accepted.
Janet Garon gave the Treasurer's Report. Income, since the August
2015 meeting included both 2015 and 2016 dues, the Wine and Beer Tasting
proceeds, and interest on the checking account. Expenses included the
post office box rental, mailings and stamps, our annual St. Anne/St. Patrick
donation, a SLAC contribution, the Annual Report fee, an award, and weed
treatment. The Treasurer's Report was accepted as read.
Dam - Ken Gajewski reported that he had opened the dam on October
15, lowered the water to 36 inches below the spillway, and had closed the
dam on November 4. He noted that we had started the season with the water
level down about 3 inches.
Boating - Matt Kibbe said that because the water level is down,
there are more boating hazards around the lake. He has marked the rocks.
He warned of a boat traveling fast at night with no lights. The Sturbridge
Police have funds to purchase a boat with a blue light and will be able to
patrol the lakes in town at night. He asked that people who have wakeboard
boats stay in the middle of the lake. He recommended that residents check
the Mass.gov website for free boating courses like the ones offered this
spring. Rick Predella said that residents should make sure that their
guests know the boating rules. The yellow buoys mark rocks and the orange
ones designate the slalom course.
Regarding the tree on the island - the tree has been taken down and
the island has been cleaned up. One person had called to "reserve" the island
for July 4th. Because the island is owned by the State, the Association has
no legal right to stop anyone from using it. Calling ahead is a courtesy
so that people can decide if they want to share the space with others. Parking
at the boat ramp is limited.
Fishing - Rob Scoble said that the lake is stocked at the boat
ramp in the fall and spring. The Mass. Division of Fishing and Wildlife is
looking for alternate spots to put the fish in the lake.
Membership - Rick Predella is the new chairman of the Membership
Committee, and the new members of his committee are Tom Clark, Dave Bellerose,
Barb Gionfriddo, Barbara Hitchcock, Laura Eliason, Jamie Skowyra, and Mari
Roy. The dues letter and membership form had gone out in June and payments
have begun to come in. It was noted that dues are earmarked for keeping the
lake clean, and treating the weeds.
It was reported that at the Membership Committee meeting on June 1st the
possibility of making dues payments electronically was discussed. If there
is sufficient interest, the Board of Directors can make arrangements with
Pay Pal or another electronic payment organization or with a bank. A show
of hands indicated that there was not a lot of interest in electronic dues
payments at this time. In addition, on next year's dues form, the Membership
Committee will ask for the names of the voting members of each
Environmental -Bruce Gran said that our new weed treatment
company is Solitude of Shrewsbury, MA. Bruce and a representative of the
company had mapped the lake and had treated invasive weeds in a number of
areas. Bruce will look at places where residents have seen weed growth and
will contact Solitude again. He is hoping to have a representative from the
company come to our August meeting.
The Town of Sturbridge allocates $5,000 each year from its betterment fund
and gives the money to the town's Lake Associations based on their expenses
for weed treatment. This year Big Alum will receive $1,702 from the Town.
There was some discussion about the gypsy moths that have been eating the
trees around the lake. There was also a comment about the wooly adelgid which
can be found on hemlocks in our area.
History - John Puffer was not present but Joel asked that anyone
with pictures or stories to contribute to the History pages of the web site
please do so.
Recreation - Lisa Sanderson said that the new Recreation Committee
(formerly Social) had been formed in March and was planning many activities
from June through December. They have several pontoon tie-up dates set, and
have three major events going on July 4th weekend - Trick or Treating on
Trail Road in the morning, the annual Boat Parade in the afternoon, and lighting
of the shore at dusk. On August 5th, the committee is organizing the 3rd
annual Beer and Wine Tasting. This year's event will have a country western
theme, with food provided by BT's Smokehouse. Lisa added that the committee
is working on the lake walking issue at a grass roots level. Lisa introduced
the members of the Recreation Committee: Liz Detarando, Kathy Harrington,
Barbara Hitchcock, Laura Eliason, Mari Roy, Marni Treitman, and Marion
SLAC - The two boating safety courses offered this spring were
very successful. Another two classes will be offered next spring. The Sturbridge
Conservation Commission and SLAC have produced a pamphlet about lake conservation
and protection. A copy was included in the membership mailing that was sent
to all residents.
The annual lake sampling will be done July 22 -24. The water will
be tested for clarity, oxygen levels, etc. and the results will be posted
on the web site.
Old Business - It was pointed out that we usually acknowledge
the deaths of BALA members since the previous Labor Day. Long-time resident,
Al Eisold had passed away on October 3, 2015.
New members were introduced: Josh Skowyra (312 The Trail), Marnie
Treitman (97 Paradise Lane), and Betsy Peppel (94 Paradise Lane).
New Business - Joel said that Chuck Roy had agreed to be on
the Boating Committee with Matt Kibbe, since Rick Predella had become chairman
of the Membership Committee.
Joel explained his idea to encourage residents to meet their neighbors.
If people do not have a boat but would like a ride around the lake, they
can buy or make themselves a flag (blue with a white diagonal stripe) which
means "guest or "friendship" and hang it near their waterfront. Any passerby
in a boat (pontoon or other) will know that they are available and would
like to join them for a cruise around the lake. Captains, who see a flag
flying, and have the time and desire for some company, may stop by and offer
their neighbors a ride. Joel had a sample flag which he had made.
Scott Sanderson brought up the issue of walking around the lake and
said that he thought it should be discussed at the meeting. He felt that
it is a BALA issue. Joel replied that the objective of the Association is
to maintain water quality and therefore BALA should not become involved in
neighborhood conflicts. Scott asked to take a vote to see how many people
wanted to discuss the Association's becoming involved. Janet noted that only
paid members would be able to vote and that we would need to take roll call
before we could hold any vote. She made a motion that the members present
at the meeting take a non-binding vote on whether the Association should
become involved in the walking/trespassing matter.
Discussion followed. There was a question about the purpose of involving
the Association. Marion Reilly said that their walking group wanted to bring
the Town of Sturbridge in to resolve the matter. Jeff Buchanan noted that
the group wanted a coordinated (the walking group & BALA) response to
the problem if they did pursue the matter with the Town. Paul Roy said that
the Town does not work on private roads unless there is public access. It
was pointed out that the Town plows private roads so that emergency equipment
can reach houses on the road. The Town also accesses the private roads around
the lake to monitor the sewer lines. However, this does not make the roads
public. Janet said that things do not go well for property owners when government
entities, whether Federal, State, or Local, become involved. Mark Minnucci,
who has a frequently-used private way on his property, noted that Town
involvement worries him as well. Another question was asked about using
Association money on the walking issue. Again it was pointed out that the
purpose of the Association is the protection of the water and lake ecology.
There was a question whether the Association could become involved legally
if it were to take a position in the walking issue. The answer was that it
Janet withdrew her previous motion. Scott Sanderson then asked if the group
could take a non-binding straw-poll to have further discussions about lake
walking within the context of BALA. The majority of paid and non-paid members
present at the meeting voted to hold further discussions, and the issue will
be addressed at the August meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 11:25 AM.
BALA Minutes - Archives
July 8, 2006
August 12, 2006
July 7, 2007
July 5, 2008
August 9, 2008
July 11, 2009
August 15, 2009
July 3, 2010
||August 14, 2010
||July 2, 2011
||August 13, 2011
||July 7, 2012
||July 6, 2013
||August 17, 2013
|July 5, 2014
||August 16, 2014
||June 27, 2015
||August 22, 2015
||July 2, 2016
||August 20, 2016
||July 1, 2017