August 11, 2020

Letter to the Editor: Closing White Sand Beach, Hains Park is Wrong: Old Lyme Residents are Responsible, Respectful

To the Editor:

I feel that closing White Sands (sic) Beach and Hains Park is wrong.  These are not public beaches; they are restricted for use by Old Lyme residents/property owners only, hence the requirement for a parking hang tag that residents can buy at the town hall. Certainly, we can maintain a safe distance from each other.

I have been isolating from family, friends and the general public since March 14th.  I follow guidance from the CDC and watch the news every day.  I worked for the CT Department of Public for over 20 years as a regulator, inspecting nursing homes, child care facilities, camps, mental health and substance abuse facilities, and I am very familiar with infection control.

Now that the weather is warming up and many places to recreate are closed, the beach is a safe place to commune with nature, listen to the waves, get some vitamin D, exercise, and ease anxiety.  Better than hiking or picnicking in the woods where there are ticks.

Now that the OL beaches are closed until further notice, I am grieving another loss of sanctuary – the freedom to exercise my solitary spiritual practice, to walk on the sand and wade in the water.

It is easier to maintain social distancing outside, than to do so in grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, hospitals, etc.

I believe that Old Lyme residents are responsible, respectful and thoughtful people, and I believe that we can use our beaches safely during this very scary, challenging time.

Sincerely,

Susan Kneen Way,
Old Lyme.

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Comments

  1. Mary Daley says

    I agree with you Susan.

    Seemed like every private OL beach this weekend had clusters of people relaxing and enjoying the great weather. Only the town owned beaches were empty. While I respect the Selectman’s decision to be cautious, the impact was that many of our neighborhood heroes – our nurses, our fireman, our store clerks, who really could have benefited from an escape on the beach this weekend, couldn’t.

    One suggestion to minimize the potential for overcrowding by visitors, is to employ the rangers that were guarding the entrances this weekend, to simply check for proof of property ownership or residency and allow only OL taxpayers onto these town owned parking and beach properties – at least for now.

    I’m hoping that will be the case next weekend.

  2. I have always resented that my tax dollars have been ised to hire guards to keep me off private beaches. And now mor
    e money goes to keep me off my own beaches.we will be given a tax break for this ?i think old lyme residents know enough to observe distancing. Use the guards to check our beach passes and not allow ou
    tsiders in. Barb mckee

  3. Mary Daley says

    I listened to the Selectman’s meeting the other night, and understand and respect First Selectman Griswold’s decision to close the public beaches. I understand that the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that municipalities could not prohibit nonresidents from using municipal parks and beaches. I also just read in Lymeline (https://www.theday.com/local-news/20200505/east-lyme-to-close-town-beaches-to-nonresidents) that East Lyme voted to do exactly that – to limit access to municipal beaches this summer to residents only. Nickerson said “I’m willing to fight” in court because these are unusual times.

    Old Lyme could follow East Lyme’s lead. More simply however, Old Lyme could control access first by limiting the Sound View parking lot to residents only – just as it does at White Sands. Old Lyme could further control access by following Waterford and Fairfield’s lead by charging residents a nominal fee and non-residents ten fold that fee. Both I believe are legal, and in lieu of shutting the beaches down completely it allows residents to enjoy a bit of sunshine.

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