Debate over boat dock access in McIntosh Co.

Debate over boat dock access in McIntosh Co.

MCINTOSH CO., GA (WTOC) - The gate on this boat dock has some saying it cuts off taxpayers from their property, while others say it's a way to get rid of theft, vandalism and keep boat owners paying to use it.

For years, folks could walk along the floating docks next to Waterfront Park put there by the McIntosh County Development Authority. But the authority limited access earlier this year to the boaters who rent the space.

Two boat owners WTOC met didn't want to talk on camera but said they'd suffered break-ins and thefts and damage over and over, before the gate.

Leaders from the development authority say the crime problem was costing them visitors and renters.

"We've had permanent resident boats leave because it cost them too much to leave it here because they'd have nuisance thefts. Somebody would steal a $10 item and do $1,000 in damage to get it," said McIntosh Co. Development Authority President Wally Orrell.

Orrell says the public still has access to the water all along the river in both directions of Waterfront Park. He also says they'll have more when the authority builds a public pier nearby for fishing and launching kayaks or canoes.

He admits they've seen some opposition, but he hopes the restrictions protect visitors and keep them returning over and over again.

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