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Pike - Wayne Chapter - 462

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Conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s cold water fisheries and their watersheds

On Oct. 20, 2010 I attended the Lackawaxen Township Supervisor's public meeting due to the fact that it was rumored that Kittatinny Canoes had acquired the Threshman property at mile 10 on the Lackawaxen River.

For those members who are unaware, Ewell Threshman operated a transient livery operation at that site, meaning that he ran a business that launched canoes, kayaks, rafts and tubes at that location rented by third party businesses such as Kittatinny Canoes, Landers, Two River Junction as well as private individuals. His operation did not rent watercraft at that site.

 

The township meeting's agenda listed Dave Jones of Kittatinny Canoes as the first item under new business. Mr. Jones announced that his business had, in fact, purchased the Threshman property and he intended to operate an unrestricted watercraft launch operation just as Ewell Threshman had in the past.

 

Mr. Jones stated that he intended to raze the present structure at that site and erect a new elevated two bedroom log structure. He mentioned that the present site is in deplorable condition and he wants to "clean the place up". He mentioned that porta-potties will be on site for personal sanitation and further that renters will not be allowed to carry any foodstuffs or beverage containers other than one bottle of water, obviously to curtail a litter situation. He futher mentioned that he intends to be a good neighbor, run a clean operation and to bring commerce, tourism, recreation and jobs to the area. He further mentioned safety talks prior to any launches.

 

Township Supervisor Brian Stuart questioned the legality of continuing Threshman's operation due to there being an ordinance prohibiting launching of watercraft on the Lackawaxen River in Lackawaxen Township.

Mr. Jones eluded to the Threshman operation being grandfathered as it was in operation prior to the passage of the aforementioned ordinance. A discussion then ensued between Mr. Jones and Supervisor Stuart on that topic. Mr. Stuart asked if Mr. Jones had any documentation to support his claim. Mr. Jones indicated that anything that Threshman had was lost in the '06 flood. Mr. Stuart stated that there will be a discovery period wherein the township will research it's archives for any records pertaining to this matter. In kind, Mr. Stuart requested that Mr. Jones make a feasible attempt to provide documentation in his support. Mr. Stuart reiterated that the township ordinance regarding watercraft launch is clear and then stated that the Township Supervisors are neither in support nor in opposition of his claim, therefor citing the period of factual discovery prior to any resolution. In other words they were going to "Look into it".

Mr. Jones then left the meeting.

There were several other topics on the agenda prior to the public comment period.

During the public comment period Mr. Dimitri Zaimes of Two River Junction was first to speak. He spoke in suport of continuing the operation. For those of you who are unaware Mr. Zaimes also rents, canoes, kayaks, and rafts, his business being at the confluence of the Lackawaxen and Delaware Rivers, and was a customer of the Threshman operation. I don't need to get into his supporting comments.

The next speaker represented the Lackawaxen Conservancy. I neglected to obtain the speaker's name, but she cited the ordinance and was very knowledgable. Not being confrontational, but rather matter of fact in questioning the leagality.

Next to speak was Mr. Gordon Wildermuth, a property owner on the Lackawaxen who stated that he owns about a mile of riverfront. He also was nonconfrontational, but again questioned the legality of continuance of the launch operation given the standing ordinance.

 

Mr. Zaimes then spoke again in rebuttal to the appparent opposition. He mentioned that the livery will control littering and said that canoers litter less than fishermen and the livery won't rent canoes unless there is a release. He again spoke in support, citing tourism, jobs, etc.

 

I then questioned the Supervisors regarding the next step. I was informed again of the discovery period. I asked if there will be additional hearings and how do I get notified when they will be held. Mr. Stuart stated that notifications for any Township business is published in the News Eagle. I asked if I could send an email to the Clerk as an "interested oraganization" regarding notification of future hearings regarding this matter. He stated that was acceptable. I had emailed the Township Clerk about two weeks prior to this meeting notifying her of our intention to address concerns regarding the use of the Lackawaxen River. I requested confirmation of my email. I never received it.

I reported on this matter to the PWTU Executive Board at the 10/25/10 meeting. A motion was made and seconded voting in confidence for me to act on behalf of the Chapter regarding this matter. Comments by the Executive Board included opposition from an environmental stanadpoint as well as possible confrontation between fishermen and boaters. The Chapter is in fundamental opposition to the continuance of the Threshman operation.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

Manny Vidal, Secretary