HARVARD — A Turner Lane resident complained to selectmen last week about obnoxious noise generated, indirectly, by the Bare Hill Pond Rowing Club during team practices on the pond.
She and her husband are frequently bothered by rowing team coaches hollering at their charges through megaphones, the woman said, and the problem persists, despite promises that it would stop.
Bare Hill Pond is “all of our natural resource,” she said of the pond, a treasured “town jewel” with residences, a Girl Scout camp and a residents-only town beach managed by the Parks and Recreation Commission sharing its sprawling shoreline.
Used for swimming, boating and fishing, the pond is also a practice and event field for the rowing club.
Consisting of “at least 68-70 members,” the woman posited that the rowing program has grown “too big for our pond.” But right now it’s not the rowers, some of whom are Bromfield students, that she objects to, she said, it’s the coaches.
The coaches follow in separate skiffs and bellow directives via bullhorns, their amplified voices blaring out over the water and invading the peace of the pond and the homes of area residents whose “needs and desires haven’t even been considered,” the woman said.
Now, they want to add more members and extend practice hours, she said, and it’s too much, the woman told the board. “I counted nine sculls out there yesterday morning!”
Noting that club officials had signed a contract that spells out program parameters, including the number of launches, she said rules are routinely bypassed. “If they sign a contract, they should live by it,” she told the board.
A neighbor, Natasha Yakovlev, said the noise is so loud it disturbs the peace of her summer home indoors as well as out, even with the windows closed. “You can year the coaches yelling out names,” she said and they sometimes use profane language.
She and other summer residents are “shocked” by the yelling, echoing voices, starting early on weekend mornings, when the pond used to be “so beautiful and tranquil.”
This is the first year it has disturbed her so much, Yakovlev said, and it is “very upsetting to me and others on the lake.”
Chairman Stu Sklar acknowledged the selectmen knew about the noise issue and expected it would be addressed at an upcoming forum hosted by the harbormaster, with the Pond Committee present.
“That’s what we’re waiting for,” he said.