The Town of Smyrna is enforcing swimming resriction at Lake Como; children under age 14 need to be accompanied by an adult.
THE PROBLEM At a July Smyrna Council meeting, a couple of residents complained about people swimming at Lake Como who were breaking the rules by smoking and swimming beyond the designated area. Following conversations amongst council members, Councilman Anthony DeFeo decided to go take a look and discuss the concerns with the lifeguards.
Talking with the lifeguards, DeFeo found out parents are dropping off their children at Lake Como and asking the lifeguards to watch their children. DeFeo brought up the conversation at the Aug. 6 council meeting.
“While granted our lifeguards are there to make sure that everyone’s safe, we’re not running a daycare there, so I think we need to give them some specific instructions,” DeFeo said. “We need to reinforce this [age requirement] and make sure that parents know they cannot leave their youngsters there and expect them to be watched by our lifeguards.”
WHAT’S BEEN SAID At the Aug. 6 meeting, council discussed a proposal for children under age 12 to have adult supervision at Lake Como.
Councilwoman Valerie White said it’s great to have an age restriction but the town can’t expect the lifeguards to also enforce it “except to say ‘I’m not watching your kid today,’ or ‘I don’t have to watch your children anymore.’”
Police Chief Wil Bordley then chimed in that at that point, it would be up to the police department to enforce the age restriction from this point on.
When asked if there’s a policy to teach the lifeguards how to handle these situations, Bordley said there isn’t one yet: “Actually, this whole summer’s been a big learning experience with these lifeguards and we’re in the process of developing a handbook for the future.”
As council continued to discuss age requirements and what qualified as proper supervision, town clerk Valerie Heritage informed council there is an ordinance for swimming at Lake Como.
Under section 46-57 in the town code, it states that residents should “Swim at your own risk” and that “children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.”
As town lawyer Barrett Edwards didn’t have the latest copy of this code, council tabled the issue until the end of the meeting.
Once council came back from executive session, Heritage went over the code for council who then agreed that there’s no need to do anything further regarding the age restrictions for Lake Como. Smyrna Police will just need to enforce the restriction that children under age 14 need to be accompanied by an adult at the lake.
Email Jennifer Dailey@doverpost.com