BURRILLVILLE â€” When it was first developed, the Wallum Lake canoe launch was originally intended to be an easy location to allow canoers and kayakers access to the picturesque 322-acre lake, located in the northwest part of town.
Wallum Lake lies in Burrillville and Douglas, Mass, and is adjacent to Douglas State Forest and Wallum Lake Park. There are two paved boat ramps: one at the north end off Wallum Lake Road in Douglas, and the second at the southern extreme end of the lake in Burrillville.
Over the years, however, neighbors have complained that the Burrillville launch, which was designed for canoe and kayak access only, has become a popular hang-out spot where police routinely monitor for illegal activities, including public drinking, littering, swimming and use of the launch by motorized boats, which is prohibited.
It's gotten to the point where the Conservation Commission is considering closing the launch and sealing off the area to the public.
Town Councilman Stephen N. Rawson would rather that not happen and is calling for town officials to put their heads together to come up with a solution.
"I know the police have been diligent, but I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile as a council to sit down and talk about this," Rawson said at Wednesday's meeting. "There seems to be a different view point and the Conservation Commission is considering closing (the canoe launch). My feeling is that by closing it you eliminate the 'legal' people from using the facility, while the illegal use would still go on because those people would just park on the street, walk in and find a way to do whatever it is they're doing there."
At the council's meeting Wednesday, the panel unanimously voted to support Rawson's motion to hold a future workshop with the Conservation Commission and Police Department to discuss options to curtail illegal activity at the canoe launch.
"I'm hoping we can discuss options to increase enforcement, maybe by use of greater fines or issuing use permits so we can get tighter control and get it back to what it was intended for â€” a canoe and kayak launch," Rawson said.
In other business Wednesday, Town Manager Michael C. Wood said organizations and individuals who participate in the town's Adopt-A-Spot and other beautification programs will be recognized on the town's web site. The link will also provide residents with an opportunity to submit ideas for other potential Adopt-A-Spot sites in town.
Some of the organizations currently participating in the Adopt-A-Spot program include the Burrillville Garden Club, Conservation Commission, Burrillville Lions Club, Pathfinders 4H Club, Burrillville veterans organizations, Harrisville Fire Department, Cub Scouts Pack 1/Boy Scouts Troop 1, and landscaper Scott Cohen.
The council Wednesday also approved the following appointments:
*Richard Lemek to the Planning Board for a three-year term to expire March 31, 2014.
* Linda Henderson to the Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library Board of Trustees for a three year term to expire June 30, 2014.
*Mark Brizard to the Budget Board for a three year term to expire June 30, 2014.