Slow no wake procedure change spurs big discussion for Twin Lakes

The reconstructed Lake Elizabeth spillway in a recent photo. /Twin Lakes photo

The reconstructed Lake Elizabeth spillway. /Twin Lakes photo

A proposed change in how slow no wake conditions would be declared on Lakes Mary or Elizabeth in Twin Lakes prompted lengthy discussion by the Twin Lakes Village Board Monday.

The Lake District Steering Council has proposed a change in how the lakes are measured in deciding when to declare slow no wake conditions.

The current official method is to consult lake level measurement devices installed at boat launches on both lakes. Village administrator Jennifer Frederick said Monday those devices are not accurate due to ice damage and other problems. Slow no wake in the current ordinance is declared at 794.50 ft.

The council is asking that the procedure be changed so that when the electronic measuring device installed near lift station 3 at the channel between the lakes reads 794.7 that the level then be checked at the spillway to see if it is 795.5.

The difference in the levels is to allow for the difference in elevations between the channel gauge and the spillway further south downstream.

The proposed ordinance states the change is being made “for ease of measurement.” Village President Howard Skinner said Monday it also was in the interest of accuracy. Using the channel gauge as a guide and then measuring at the spillway would be more accurate, he said, because the concrete spillway won’t vary.

But the change drew spirited objection from Trustee Kevin Fitzgerald. He argued the change amounted to raising the level before a slow no wake condition was declared.  He dismissed the idea that the new, higher level at the channel gauge would translate to a consistent reading at the spillway. He also contended taking a reading at the spillway was irrelevant because the lakes’ levels rise faster than the level at the spillway.

“Any talk of the dam (spillway) when you’re talking slow no wake is a red herring,” Fitzgerald said. “The level of the lake doesn’t have anything to do with the level at the dam.”

The ordinance will likely come up for an official vote later this month at the regular board meeting. Skinner and Trustees Barbara Andres and Sharon Bower expressed support for the ordinance change during the course of the discussion.


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