SARANAC LAKE - The owners of Gauthier's Saranac Lake Inn will be removing sections of their controversial fence along the Lake Flower shoreline.
The fence, which the motel's owners said was designed to protect their property and the lake from garbage, debris and road salt, had sparked a outcry from local residents and passersby who called it "unwelcoming" and an "eyesore" because it blocked part of the view of the lake. Much of the criticism came through comments posted on WNBZ radio's Talk of the Town Facebook page.
In an email sent to the Enterprise Saturday, Gauthier's co-owner Nicole Brownell said the waterfront portions of the fence would be removed.
"We have modified our design to not include those panels," Brownell said. "We want the community to know we never intended on upsetting you. We honestly were trying to create green space and help our business. Nothing more."
Brownell said the online reaction to the fence from some people included "attempts to demean us, try to hurt our business, threaten damage to our property, and physical harm to our family and children," which she called shocking.
"We want to be clear, we are not removing the panels because of the hateful words that were said. That is not the right approach, and (we) don't want to encourage public abuse. We are doing this because we love our family more than our land and no longer wish to have our children part of such distaste. We also thank the few who constructively gave thoughts, we value and respect your opinion. We do care how our actions impact you.
"We encourage you to kindly reach out to your neighbor or local business next time you have a strong opinion. They are no different than you. The hate mob approach only hurts the community and does more damage to it than a fence."
Brownell said the waterfront sections of the fence would be removed, starting today.