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Shelter Island’s Gardiner’s Bay Country Club water use decision is on hold

The Water Advisory Committee, once headed for a firm rejection on a recommendation to the Town Board on the Gardiner’s Bay Country Club proposal to increase water use, has shifted.

That’s not to say the WAC is ready to reverse its first inclinations, but after two site visits the door has opened a crack to further discussions.

Members met Monday afternoon with Jay Card Jr., leader of the move to secure support for doubling the club’s current water use to 12 million gallons per year. Town Engineer Joe Finora pointed out the town doesn’t restrict water use, except as it’s related to irrigation that was supposed to be banned 10 years ago.

The deadline was relaxed, and then seemed all but forgotten, and irrigation continues to be allowed, although there have been discussions this year of revisiting that issue.

As a result of the site visits, two summaries emerged — one from WAC member Greg Toner, who participated in the first visit, and the second from Mr. Finora who participated in the second visit.

Both men then questioned the impact that doubling water use would have on Hay Beach neighbors, and whether the plan would include expansion of the club. That was partially answered by Mr. Card, who explained part of the construction phase involves retaining runoff on club grounds, which would require doubling the acreage.

As for the water use, most of the increase would be for maintenance and predicted increased use at the clubhouse could result in treating and re-using some water.

There was also discussion about collecting water in the off-season for use in the warm months when the need for water is greatest on the Island.

WAC member Andrew Chapman described Monday’s meeting as “brainstorming,” saying the next step is up to the club to re-examine its proposal in view of concerns voiced at the session.

WAC Chairman Peter Grand noted the committee is seeking to determine whether the interests of the town and the club can be aligned.