The Future of Open Water Swim Meets

On Thursday, October 11th, the Seven Lakes North & South Board of Directors met at the North Side Clubhouse for an open meeting.

The meeting opened with a unanimous vote to approve the E. coli texting policy for common areas of the lakes, as revised on October 11th.

Resident Don Fentzlaff was presented with a plaque of appreciation for his years of serving on committees, as he will soon be moving to a new location.

The Board passed a unanimous vote to bring Sunstates Security in on contract as of December 2018 to take over security for the guards.

“They have a 95% client retention rate,” Board Member Steve Hudson said.

Hudson opened the discussion regarding the Open Water Swim Meets that take place at Lake Echo every year.  As the swim meet takes place, water tests are done, and vehicles are parked on the soccer field as well as in the pastures.

“They’re not asking; they’re telling us what they’re going to do,” Hudson said.  “They’re not landowners.”

Hudson expressed his concern for damaged pasture grass, the temporary closing of Echo lake and dam, and speeding vehicles.

“A lot of folks see this as not being a community event,” Hudson explained.  “They’re using the facilities we can’t use while they’re here… I feel that it’s time to look at getting rid of it.”

When the hosting swim team, the Sandhills Sandsharks, were asked last year to begin paying a fee for their activities at the lake, they “welcomed negotiations” according to Board Member Rod Ansley.

“We came to terms readily and easily,” Ansley said.

The community now receives $1,000 from the event.

“If you want more [money,] ask them.  What are our kids supposed to do if over time we just shut down everything?” one woman said.

A suggestion was brought to the Board to charge for tags to have event participants enter into the gates.

“This upsets me,” another man said.  “Swimming in the lakes is an amenity that brings people in to live here… I have two grandsons here [who swim].  They can tell you how dedicated they are… You don’t think it’s bringing people into our community.  It is.”

It was confirmed that the event brought about 100 swimmers from all over Moore County.  Also participating in the event were students from 6 different states.

“I have been living here since the age of 1.  I’ve been swimming on a team since I was 8.  This has been what I’ve grown up on,” said student William Hill.

“You have to look at the children,” said Alicia Hill.  “If you [close] this, my children won’t have a swim team…  The other 100+ kids in Moore County who are on this team, they will all be without a team.”

“These issues can be resolved very easily,” said Ed Hill, one of the leaders of the Sandhills Sandsharks.  “We bring in a professional timing system [that costs $10,000].  It allows swimmers to compete for the regional national level… It started small; now it’s a national thing.  It’s recognized as a national open water swim meet.”

“I think it would be a big loss to the community to lose this event,” Board Member Dr. Ann Turner said.

“I coach youth events.  The kids in these events are good kids.  That’s the biggest positive of this,” Board Member Jared Fravel said.

“This was just put out as a discussion,” Hudson said.  “There are no motions.  Nothing is to be done.  This was your chance to come out and tell us about what you’re feeling on this event.”

There will be a future meeting between the Sandsharks manager and the Board to discuss solutions to concerns and how to move forward with them.

The Board then proceeded to vote unanimously on a motion to renovate the clubhouse kitchen for no more than $20,000.  A budget of $53,000 has been set aside in the budget for the project.

“I’m not saying it will be all $20,000,” Board Member Rod Ansley said.  “I do expect that there will be continued discussion.”

“There have been some electrical and plumbing problems that are included in there,” Community Manager Jeanette Mendence said.

To get in touch with the Seven Lakes Landowners Office, call (910) 673-4931.