Coexsiting is key

John Dowd, a resident of Courthouse Road in Amherst, put a conflict between Baboosic Lake area homeowners and a local rowing club into perspective, we think, when he said at a meeting last week:

“We have to coexist in a space that doesn’t belong to us.”

That space is, of course, Baboosic Lake and, no, it does not belong to the homeowners.

We understand some of their concern, though. Hearing a coxswain shout, “Stroke, stroke, stroke” at 5:30 in the morning might not be a wonderful way to wake up, but there are ways for the rowing club to get around that, so as an issue, it will probably sink beneath the waves.

And the idea that the rowing club will somehow take over the lake is specious. One resident said he was concerned that the lake will become congested, but how many of the homeowners are out boating in the early morning or in the spring and fall when the rowing club tends to row? Few.

And we strongly object to the concept put forth by one homeowner who said, “Why do you want to continue … where you are not wanted?”

Oh, please. Let’s just not even discuss that.

Look, we don’t think there should be this much conflict over something that seems, first of all, healthy for those participating, and, with the exception of the 5:30 a.m. “Stroke, stroke, stroke” mantra, not all that disturbing. Sculls are pretty quiet.

We can certainly understand the concern homeowners have over the possible spread of invasive water plants, the construction of a large boathouse for the rowing club, and whether there will be competitions on the lake someday.

Another problem advanced by someone opposed to the lake rowing was safety. She said she saw a boat capsize and claimed crews are not following standard safety procedures. OK, capsizing isn’t great, but it happens. It happens with canoes and kayaks and even motorized boats. Should we ban them from Baboosic?

And what are these standard safety procedures not being followed? Are rowers drinking beer while they row, as some “captains” and “crew” of motorized boats have been known to do? These are disciplined athletes under adult supervision, so that seems highly unlikely.

This is a silly battle. There is room for the rowers on the lake and we have yet to hear a good argument against a boathouse, so we hope the Amherst Recreation Commission, in its recommendation to the Board of Selectmen, supports the activity and that the selectmen do, too.