Lake Lanier Association President Val Perry will step down at the end of the year and be replaced by the board’s executive vice president Wilton Rooks.
Perry announced his plans to Forsyth County commissioners at a work on Tuesday during an update on the association.
“Thank you for being the leading county in support of our organization for a number of years,” Perry said. “Many of the other counties around this lake have followed your lead and been supportive, and the people that kicked it off are the people at this table. So, I personally want to thank you.”
Perry has been president of the association’s board of directors since 2013 and has served on it since 1999. He spoke highly of his successor to commissioners.
“He’s been on the board for about 10 years and will certainly do a better job than I have,” he said. “He’s the smartest guy I know. If you ever talk about people being a rocket scientist, Wilton really is a rocket scientist.”
Joanna Cloud, executive director with the association, updated commissioners on the year’s work to clean and improve the lake.
One success was in removing abandoned docks and vessels, including “dead man’s houseboat,” a fully submerged, 40-foot-long, steel-hulled boat. An abandoned houseboat in a cove near Sinclair Shores Road will take some more time to remove.
“We’re not getting quite the support we would still like from the residents, but we are still going to go try to get that thing,” Cloud said. “At this point, we need to wait on Mother Nature to cooperate with us; the way that vessel is located, it’s going to be really hard to get if we don’t have a full lake.”
Cloud said Shore Sweep, an annual cleanup of the lake, continued to grow and brought in 50 tons of debris this year.
“We’re definitely noticing a trend with Shore Sweep activities of pulling in heavier, larger, remote and more submerged objects that are just logistically more of a challenge,” Cloud said. “We still have the Boy Scouts out there with the trash bags picking up the campgrounds, but we also have now a half-dozen barges, we’ve got forklifts at probably 10 locations around the lake, about 20 rollup containers all told.”
The association has also continued to riprap islands, placing rocks to prevent erosion, which adds sediment to the lake and displaces water.
Commissioners and the association discussed the need for a fire boat on Lake Lanier, which would cost around $1 million.
“We talked about the possibility of doing it with another county and sharing,” District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills said. “There was interest in the other counties in doing it, but the location of where it would be could put it 30 minutes away from Forsyth County by water.”
Also for public safety, Cloud said Hall County would put a small first responder station on Lake Lanier Islands.
For issues out of local control, Cloud said irrigation permits that were previously suspended by the Army Corps of Engineers are now allowed and that the association is awaiting the next steps after the water wars trial between Georgia and Florida recently concluded arguments.