Swimming issue at reservoir is discussed

WILTON – The signs at the New Reservoir state there is no swimming allowed. But, according to Select Board Member Kermit Williams, who is also a Water Commissioner, “there is no rule against swimming.” Many neighbors go there.

The signs were installed by the Water Commissioners, he said, when it was the town water supply, which ended in 1986 when the town changed to wells.

Residents have been agitated for years to be able to swim there and come complain that the police enforce the No Swimming rules.

The question came up, again, at the regular meeting of the Select Board on Monday. Board Member Matt Fish said he had taken his children there and been asked to leave. He wanted to know why, as he has asked before.

Chairman Kellie-Sue Boissonnault reminded him that Town Meeting had rejected a plan to make the area into a park.

Williams said that was another issue. No park is being planned. This just concerned swimming since boating and fishing are already allowed.

Water Commissioner Tom Schultz said he would put removal of the signs on the agenda for the next meeting. “Since the Commission put them up, we can take them down.”

Boissonnault asked about the liability issue. “We’d need to put up warning signs, no life guards.”

Williams said no, the area has state “recreational immunity,” no liability on unimproved areas, such as the town’s Carnival Hill and Frog Pond areas. People use the areas at their own risk. Plus, the pond is over ten acres making it, under state rules, “public water.”

Fire Chief Jim Cutler, Police Chief Eric OIesen, and Ambulance Director Steve Desrosiers all said there were not opposed to swimming but there could be problems with access by emergency equipment on the very narrow Sand Hill Road since the area is close to Garwins Falls which already has a problem.

The discussion was continued until after the next meeting of the Water Commissioners.