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posted: 2/24/2014 12:01 AM

Don't throw baby out with lake water

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Don't throw baby out with lake water

State Rep. Terry Link's proposal to dissolve the Fox Waterway Agency to save money is much like a person who proposes to burn their wallet so they cannot spend the money that is in it. Obviously, there are alternatives that are more effective.

Link may be influenced by the politically connected family of young Tony Borca, killed in 2012 in a horrific accident on the Chain O' Lakes involving many levels of negligence. Since the boy's death, his family has crusaded against the Fox Waterway Agency charging it has not budgeted enough money to support what they feel is an effective level of law enforcement on the waterway.

This sad story leaves the policing issue emotionally charged. Valid arguments prevail on both sides. However, the agency provides a vast spectrum of services beyond policing. Environmental management of habitats, user regulation enforcement, and dredging to maintain the waterway so as to continue attracting the recreation and vacation dollars from both local users as well as those who travel to the area to partake in its recreational offerings. These activities are not restricted to boating, swimming and fishing but include dinning, shopping and camping as well.

A stronger policing effort would be a good idea. The speed and traffic on the lake, particularly on the weekends, requires an in-depth study and stronger regulation. Lake Geneva regulates size and speed for their lake users, the Chain O' Lakes waterway could benefit from similar regulation.

The DNR is not equipped to take over the care of the Chain O' Lakes. Link would do a greater service if he would form a study group to solve unresolved policing issues and not attempt to deconstruct one of the most popular and thriving recreational and revenue producing areas in northern Illinois.

Gail Talbot


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