2014-08-27 / Opinions


‘Elitist’ thinking has no place in reservoir debate

I’ve been following the recent news stories and letters regarding public access to the Swift Creek Reservoir with some interest and would like to comment specifically on two objections that are being repeatedly raised against the idea.

First, county officials, most recently Deputy County Administrator Bill Dupler, have been quoted as saying that from a legal standpoint only property owners in Brandermill and Woodlake were conveyed the right to launch boats on the reservoir. If that’s the case, how does Mr. Dupler explain the fact that residents of neighboring communities – such as Edgewater, Waterviews, Heron Pointe, Cambria Cove and Foxfire – are also boating on the lake? To the best of my knowledge, none of these other communities were built by East West Partners, nor have they been conveyed any specific legal rights by the Brandermill or Woodlake homeowners associations. Yet many homeowners in these communities have pontoon boats anchored on the reservoir, have constructed private docks and access points on the water and regularly launch canoes, kayaks and fishing boats from their shores. The county administration can’t have it both ways. Either any property owner along the lake has the right to use it, or only Brandermill and Woodlake residents have that right. If the former is true, there is no legal reason why the county, which is also a landowner, can’t grant its citizens the right to access the lake. If the latter is true, I will await with interest the serving of notices to the hundreds of residents of the above-named communities that they can no longer boat on the reservoir.

Secondly, several letter writers have complained that providing public access to the reservoir would result in an increase of trash and “obnoxious behavior.” That kind of elitist thinking has no place with regard to a publicly maintained waterway, and it has no basis in reality. I would encourage those with such fears to visit the county park located at Chesdin Landing. I launched my kayak from the park a few weekends ago. There were no crowds of unruly people throwing trash everywhere. The parking lot and boat launch area were clean and well-maintained. My only company was a father fishing from the dock with his little boy. Later, we were joined by an elderly gentlemen in a johnboat. Hardly the fearsome mob of litterers and partiers that some believe would be ready to descend on any lake with a public boat ramp. I’ve also frequently used the public boat ramp at Robious Landing and, again, have seen no massive problem with litter or bad behavior.

I fully support any effort to maintain the Swift Creek Reservoir as a beautiful, clean, quiet oasis of nature in a busy suburban corridor. I suspect that most county residents who would like to boat on the lake share those goals. I encourage the county administration to offer us the same opportunity to enjoy the Swift Creek Reservoir as it has done for Lake Chesdin and the James River.

Andy Tucker

Senator a facilitator, not advocate

Concerning “Group ramps up political pressure to open reservoir” [Aug. 13]: As a strong defender of property rights, my involvement has only been to listen to my constituents and to help facilitate a conversation with their county officials, which helps citizens understand the challenges in providing what they are requesting. We cannot, nor should anyone, have an interest in forcing someone to allow their property to be used for someone else’s purpose.

State Sen. Steve Martin,

Letters can be emailed to, mailed to P.O. Box 1616, Midlothian, VA 23113, or faxed to 744-3269. Letters should include the writer’s phone number and home address, but neither will be printed. All letters should be limited to less than 500 words and may be edited for clarity or space. For complete guidelines, visit and click on resources, and then letters policy.

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