"Good fences make good neighbors" - the old saying doesn't hold true for the controversial barrier that Gauthier's Saranac Lake Inn erected on Lake Flower Avenue and is now in the process of removing. After people complained about the look and height of the fence, the inn owners, being good neighbors, decided to disassemble it.
The Brownell family, which owns the lakeside inn, had good reasons for the fence. It would deter runoff of debris that washes into their yard and Lake Flower, as well as road salt that damages vegetation and quality of the water. Plus, the fence signified that it isn't a public area; non-guests' use of that spot to launch boats or otherwise can cause a liability for the owners.
While we agree the fence was not aesthetically pleasing and blocked the public's view of the lake, we defend the Brownells' reasoning and right to do what they like on their own property.
What is really objectionable is the offensive feedback they received in regard to the fence. Some of it was flat-out threatening. This behavior is shameful and reflects poorly on Saranac Lake.
The Brownells are very involved in the community and want nothing more than to do things for its betterment. It's a sad situation that they are not only removing the fence they spent money erecting but that they had to endure the wrath of a few. We hope they continue to be engaged in the community and know that these mean-spirited comments don't reflect the general attitude here.
Has the culture of face-to-face discussion been replaced by posting nasty comments on the Web, sniping anonymously on the radio or going through a third party? If so, it's a poor exchange. We think this behavior is inexcusable and that those who responded in such a negative manner need to learn some lessons about civility. We're all in this together, and we need to act like it.