Controversy over Southwick’s new North Pond jet ski policy

North Pond is 47 acres

Photo Courtesy: Southwick Police Department

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – Some Southwick residents are angry over a recent change in enforcement policy at Congamond Lakes.

Southwick residents said they’re outraged that the police chief is allowing jet skis on the North Pond. They say the North Pond is too small to be safe on them.

“Jet skis are allowed on the North Basin, also known as the North Pond,” Chief Dave Ricardi of the Southwick Police Department told 22News.

“It’s horrible,” Southwick resident Dennis Goldie said.

A debate is heating up over whether jet skis should be allowed on the North Pond of the Congamond lakes in Southwick. Jet skis have been prohibited on the North Pond for more than 20 years. Under state law, jet skis can only be used on waters bigger than 75 acres. The North Pond is 47 acres.

“Well it’s not safe, it’s a small lake. The state says it has to be 75 acres, you know. The law, the way it is now, when a jet ski shows up everybody comes running out of their house, telling them to get out,” Goldie told 22News.

It all started when a North Pond road resident asked the chief about using his jet ski on North Pond, which is closer to his house. The lake management committee rejected the chief’s request, so he contacted the environmental police.

“There are tunnels that connect all three bodies of water, so when he did his research, he found out that because of tunnel connect, all three bodies of water, that you would go by the total of all the lakes, which is 4-hundred and something acres,” Chief Ricardi told 22News.

465 acres to be exact. Chief Ricardi believes the two decade ban was a mistake made by the lake management committee. But according Richard Grannells, Chair of the Lake Management Committee, “That restriction was in place and enforced by Environmental Police and Town Police before the LMC was chartered by the Select Board (28 years ago).”

Residents told 22News, the town should decide. The lake management committee is meeting Thursday night to address this issue.