SHREWSBURY – The Lake Quinsigamond Commission on Nov. 8 held an open public forum regarding the usage of jet skis on the lake.
Since the onset of COVID-19, users of Lake Quinsigamond have reported that users of certain watercraft — particularly jet skis — have been acting dangerously and inconsiderately. People have reported loud noises, users driving like “crazy people,” several inappropriate gestures to other watercraft, and numerous other disturbances that have ultimately affected the quality of life for residents.
The commission, which has floated the idea of outright banning jet skis, asked the community to participate in the November meeting.
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“It’s a shame that we’re at this stage,” Lake Quinsigamond Commission Chair Peter Collins said at the Nov. 8 meeting. “The commission is interested in the greater good – the overall safety of the lake and free use of the lake. I don’t think anyone on the commission is a big fan of banning anything, but with that being said we still have to think and consider what is best for everyone on the lake.”
Shrewsbury Town Hall was packed for the forum. While community members took different positions on the issue, everyone generally agreed that some action needed to be taken to curb misbehavior on the lake. Yet people remained divided on the exact course of action the commission should take.
Many community members — particularly several residents of Worcester’s Pointe Rok Estates – pointed to Flint Pond and Oak Island as the epicenter of the crisis, reporting near misses with reckless jet ski users, watercraft users operating under the influence and feeling unsafe to use the lake.
Lisa Diprofio, a Pointe Rok resident who also spoke on the issue at the commission’s July meeting, presented a letter signed by 12 residents who live on Flint Pond.
“The number of jet skiers has dramatically increased over the past few years, which affects overall noise pollution,” the letter reads. “Those impacted include residents and the abundant wildlife that make the pond their home… Residents and responsible users of the pond should not have to suffer any longer. It’s our request that [Shrewsbury] put measures in place to close the island.”
The Pointe Rok letter – and many individual speakers – proposed allowing only lake residents to use jet skis. The commission has previously heard data that suggests that out-of-town watercraft users, not lake residents, are causing the majority of the disruptive behavior.
Still, several participants didn’t view banning certain watercraft favorably. Marguerite Cormier, who has been boating on Lake Quinsigamond since 1989, said she “take[s] extreme offense” to banning jet skis, saying that she “cannot accept a total ban or restriction on jet skiing on the law when you’re a law-abiding citizen.” Cormier offered several suggestions to combat the problem, including limiting parking at the boat ramps.
Collins noted that the commission will next meet in January and that he hopes different stakeholders — including police, pro-jet ski advocates, anti-jet ski advocates and other concerned citizens — get together in the coming months to discuss the problem.