Mayor responds to boat race cancellation

| 06 Sep 2012 | 01:51

    I was extremely disheartened to read the comments made by Lake Hopatcong Racing Association (LHRA) President, Bill Pierce, regarding the cancellation of the boat races scheduled for Sept. 15. His conspiracy theories regarding other local volunteer organizations and allegations that the West Milford Volunteer Fire Department thwarted and cancelled the event is pure gibberish and completely unwarranted.
    Mr. Pierce neglected to mention that the LHRA only applied for the special use permit on Aug. 15, the main permit required to hold an event at Brown’s Point. On Aug. 21, he was notified that their paperwork was deficient. Mr. Pierce cancelled the event via an email to the township dated Aug. 28. Three weeks prior to the event, the LHRA simply did not have the required permits and sadly could not hold the event. Unexpected delays, miscommunications, and incomplete governmental paperwork caused the cancellation.
    The fire department should be thanked, not admonished. They volunteer their time and expertise, race into burning buildings, and risk their lives to protect our safety and our property 365 days a year, 24/7. The township staff, including the recreation department, clerk’s office and legal counsel, should also be thanked for the significant time and effort they expended on this matter.
    As mayor I regularly receive comments, complaints and suggestions from our residents. I am not aware of any volunteer organizations, residents, township staff members or elected officials that oppose the boat races, regardless of who sponsors the event. We welcome new attractions, functions and events, as long as our local taxpayers don’t foot the bill.
    While it is a shame the boat races were cancelled twice this year, focus should be placed on learning from past mistakes, streamlining the process, improving communication, planning for contingencies, and fostering relationships. Diverted aggression and misplaced blame will only hinder the success of any future events.

    Bettina Bieri
    West Milford