A gate in Point Leamingtonthat has been causing some discontent among residents isn’t going anywhere – and with good reason – according to Mayor Roosevelt Thompson.
Recently, Point Leamington’s town council were pleased to learn that their request to take over the community’s government wharf was approved. Thompson told the Advertiser the provincial government had initially planned to dismantle the structure, but the Town was able to convince officials to hand the wharf over to council and give them the money they were going to use to tear it down to fix it up.
“The wharf was too good to go, people (were) using it for recreation, and we didn’t want to lose it,” said Thompson.
Along with inheriting the wharf, the Town of Point Leamington also inherited the cost of upkeep as well as the liability issues associated with it. In response, the Town erected a locked gate on the wharf to reduce traffic and increase the lifespan of the structure.
Thompson said the decision came after consulting with the Town’s insurance provider, as well as specialists from a wharf repair company.
“The company recommended we put a gate there to keep people from just driving out there, which would prolong the life (of the wharf),” explained Thompson. “The insurance company said it would be proactive for keeping any accidents from occurring there.”
Thompson also said before the gate, people would often leave their vehicles parked on the wharf while out on the water. He said there is a key available at the Town Office for the gate, in the case that anyone needs to drive out on the structure for any reason.
Clyde Andrews, a Point Leamington resident and member of the former wharf committee before the wharf was acquired by the town, submitted a letter to the Advertiser, which appeared in the Sept. 24 edition.
In it, he outlined why he opposed the erection of the gate, stating it was making the wharf less accessible for people who wanted to use it.
“In a community where the majority of the population are either retirees or seniors, it seems quite uncommon and out of place for such restrictions among friends. Installing a gate at the entrance of the wharf enforces the fact that anyone using the facility must park away from the structure and carry their belongings to their final destination at the docking post of their vessel,” the letter read. “It is very disheartening to see a senior member of the community have to carry a twenty-gallon gas can, plus other items, down to the docking station in order to enjoy a day on the water.”
Thompson said complaints like the ones in Andrews’ letter are unwarranted.
“We have an opening left on the side of the gate large enough for a quad to drive through,” said Thompson. “If you want to launch your boat (from the slipway) and pull her in by the wharf, you’re only about 15 feet away.”
Thompson said he did receive a petition from a handful of residents asking for the gate to be removed, but said since sending out a letter to all Point Leamington residents, which outlined the reasons behind installing the gate, he hasn’t had any further complaints.
“That letter answers every question raised by the petition,” said Thompson.
He said Council has no intention of changing their mind on the gate, and said he’s received numerous compliments from residents on the installation of the gate. He said he hopes that through preventative measures and proper upkeep, the wharf can continue to be an asset to the community for decades to come.
“We’re doing our due diligence, we’re being responsible and we’re not barring anyone from using the wharf or making it less accessible to them,” said Thompson. “We’re protecting the life of (the structure) and 99 per cent of people are quite happy with it. If you have a few disgruntled people, so be it.”