It's not about taking the fun away. It's about saving lives.
Bloomingdale Mayor Jonathan Dunleavy said he is hopeful the public understands that the intentions of an ordinance that will be up for a vote at next week's council meeting prohibiting ice skating on borough ponds are to ensure safety of residents, particularly youth.
The council began discussion on the ordinance applicable to the two public ponds-Bogue Pond and Oakwood Lake-during a council meeting on Feb. 5. Currently, Dunleavy said, ice activities are not encouraged but there is not a formal restriction on the books.
"The policy of the borough is if the police saw [people] skating, they would ask them to stop," the mayor said.
Dunleavy said consideration of the formal ordinance began following the accidental deaths of of Budd Lake while ice-fishing last month. Authorities spent days recovering the bodies of the teenagers as the community and several surrounding communities mourned their loss.
The biggest concern of Bloomingdale police officers is that the ponds are not monitored. Without restricting the ice activities, Dunleavy said the borough could be found liable for accidents that may occur.
"If you don't enforce it and don't address it, then you're kind of condoning it because of not having an ordinance," he said.
The ordinance would not have an effect on the private lakes, Dunleavy said, as the private communities in which they are located have control over lake activities.
If the ordinance passes after the public hearing, signs explaining the restrictions would be hung near the ponds. The public hearing will be held Feb. 19 at 7 p.m.