Valley Pond News Archive
This page is an archive of selected informational emails sent to Valley Pond shareholders.
September registration and pond update (August 26, 2020)
Thanks to the many of you who responded to our recent survey. There was enough interest in keeping the pond staffed through September to meet expenses, so we are now accepting registration for shareholders and their family members for a flat fee of $75 per person. As before, you must register using the Valley Pond website and pay in advance. You will then receive the link to sign up in advance for 90-minute visitation slots. Here is the link to register: www.valleypond.net/sept2020-registration
In this summer of Covid-19 precautions, I thought you might appreciate a summary of how things have been going at the pond. We opened for the season on May 25 with new early-morning hours (something several members have seemed to enjoy). Working with the Weston Board of Health, we began with a 25-person capacity limit and gradually increased it to 50, where it’s been since July.
Because of this capacity limit, we have not allowed members to bring guests this year, and members must sign up in advance using a link we provided at SignUp.com. Nonetheless, the number of individual visits is way up from previous years, partly because visits are limited to 90 minutes. We hit 12,000 reservations by the end of July, to put this in perspective, the average total visits for the last five summers was 7,600.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has made two unannounced visits (another first this year). Inspectors reviewed the conditions of the bathrooms, asked about our capacity limit, and confirmed that we were under that number by doing a headcount. They also noted how many members were social distancing and wearing face masks. They were pleased with what they observed and thanked us for doing a good job of following the states guidelines.
We did not put boats in the boating pond this year, mostly because we were not able to meet the initial state regulations for sanitizing our lifejackets after each use. As for the pond water itself, we were concerned at one point about the color of the water, and then more recently we noticed an odor and observed greenish-white mats amongst the vegetation in parts of the pond. Samples of the mats and the water from both ponds were analyzed by our environmental consultants. The swim pond sample contained algae, which is harmless and typical for this time of the year.
The mats in the boating pond contained two species of cyanobacteria, which have the potential to create toxins and cause a bad smell and taste. However, the growth was limited and has since disappeared, so there is no cause for concern. To be on the safe side, we’ll keep the boating pond closed and monitor for any re-emerging growth.
Thanks to everyone for adapting cheerfully to the new summer registration and visitation procedures as well as the Covid-19 precautions. We’ve worked hard to make the pond safe and enjoyable this summer, and we look forward to seeing some of you in September as well.
Valley Pond waterfront director
Guest policy and T-shirt reminder (July 5, 2020)
Who can visit the pond in 2020?
To avoid exceeding capacity and maintain infection control at the pond, we're reminding you that only preregistered summer members may sign up for time slots to visit. Guests who are not summer members are not allowed this year, even if they live with the shareholder.
Normally, shareholders who don't pay for a summer membership are allowed three free visits per season, but we are suspending that allowance this year. Again, you must be a paid summer member to visit. It's not too late to sign up — just fill out the registration form at www.valleypond.net/2020-summer-registration and you'll get an email invoice.
Finally, if you're already a summer member, please do not share the SignUp.com link with anyone who is not entitled to visit. Thanks for your help in keeping Valley Pond safe for everyone in this unusual summer.
T-shirt/towel ordering deadline coming up
The deadline to order Valley Pond T-shirts and towels is Friday, July 10 at 6 p.m. If you haven't ordered yours yet, click here for more information and the order form. Thanks!
T-shirts now available (June 23, 2020)
We all love Valley Pond, and now we can wear and share our pride with the new Valley Pond logo T-shirt and towel! Click the image to see a larger version.
Shirts are $15 each and towels are $25. The order window will close on July 10, so please get your order in soon! To minimize paper handling during the Covid-19 pandemic, we are not accepting paper checks for payments.
Please click this link to fill out and submit the online order form: https://bit.ly/VP2020orderform
As with summer registration, our bookkeeper will calculate your total and invoice you via email. When you receive your invoice, please pay via credit card, debit card or bank transfer using the link in the invoice email. We will email you when the shirts have arrived and explain the pickup procedure. Thank you and happy swimming!
Pond will open on May 25 (May 22, 2020)
The Weston Board of Health has issued a beach permit for Valley Pond that will be effective on Monday, May 25.
The Board of Health is requiring face masks to begin the season, but we hope to be able to revisit this as the summer progresses. An alternative to face masks would be installing ropes to create one-way pathways between the beach and the picnic area, but I felt this is more intrusive and would be a major safety/rescue concern. The fire chief and the Board of Health are comfortable keeping the restrooms open for emergency use only.
I’m happy to report that the Board of Health has approved the following two requests:
Increasing our capacity limit to allow 30 people at the pond during each 90-minute time slot (up from our initial limit of 25).
Expanding our hours of operation after the first week to open at 8 a.m., pending lifeguard availability.
We will begin the 8:00 a.m. opening as soon as possible. Some staff members need to wrap up their school obligations but I’m hoping to begin this in the first or second week of June.
For more details, please read the updated Special Rules for 2020 on the Valley Pond website.
Hours of operation for the first week
Mon 5/25 — 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday 5/26 to Friday 5/29 — Noon to 8:00 p.m.*
Saturday 5/30 and Sunday 5/31 — 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
*Visitation will be slightly reduced on these days from 1:30–3:00 p.m. because this is when the long-term water aerobics class for seniors has asked to run a class.
Registering for visitation
The registration page on SignUp.com for those who have paid their summer fees online will go live on Saturday, May 23 at 8:00 p.m. (we will email the link to those who have paid). Check-in will be required when you arrive at the pond using the same website on your phone. If someone has not checked in within the first 15 minutes of their slot, they are a no-show and that spot becomes available for another family.
This is going to have to be an honor system that the membership manages among themselves — the lifeguard staff are not going to be able to negotiate or navigate the compliance or cooperation of the membership. We’re sure there are going to be issues, and we’re all going to make mistakes. Please be kind with each other (and me) as we work to get this running smoothly.
The gate code will be changed on Friday, May 22 at 3:00 p.m.
More summer planning, and shareholder meeting announcement (May 12, 2020)
We know everyone is eager to hear about plans for Valley Pond in this unusual summer of 2020. We see the pond as being an especially valuable recreation option in a time when other options are few and, with sensible precautions, we don’t see it as being a particularly risky place. Our aim is to provide as much access to the pond as permitted by state and local regulations and consistent with best practices for facilities like ours.
With that in mind, we are working with the Weston Board of Health to establish the conditions under which we can open the pond this season. These will be explained in detail at the annual meeting, which will be conducted via Zoom on May 19 (more on that below), and will be posted on the Valley Pond website once they’re finalized. These restrictions will include but not be limited to:
Limiting the number of visitors at the pond at any one time. We are looking into an online booking system to enable members to book particular time slots.
Careful social distancing while at the pond, even for our youngest swimmers.
Limits on bathroom use.
No guests or parties, no trash disposal, no lightweight chairs or water toys provided by the pond.
Please be aware that policies are likely to change over time and possibly with very little notice. Patience and co-operation, traditional hallmarks for the Valley Pond community, will be key.
Online summer membership registration is now open — click here to register. If it turns out we aren’t allowed to open this summer, we will issue full refunds. Please note that paper checks and registration forms will no longer be accepted. After members submit their online registration form, they will be invoiced via email for the total they owe, and they can can then pay online using a link in the invoice email.
Shareholders’ meeting via Zoom
The onset of the Covid-19 lockdown postponed our annual shareholders’ meeting, so we would like to invite you to a virtual Special Meeting via Zoom on Tuesday, May 19 at 7:00 p.m. Our agenda for the Special Meeting is as follows:
Call to order – Peter Blackler, President
Approval of the minutes of the 2019 Special Meeting on May 1, 2019
Introduction of Board of Directors
Vote on proposed slate of directors
Treasurer’s Report – Allison Easton, Treasurer
Pond Committee Report – Alex Appleby
Wait List Report – Alice Waugh, Clerk
2020 Goals and Objectives
2020 Pond Opening
If you have questions about the meeting itself, please call or email Valley Pond clerk Alice Waugh ahead of time at email@example.com or 617-710-5542. She will not be able to help people once the meeting has begun.
During the Zoom meeting, board members will be sporting T-shirts with the new Valley Pond logo, so join us to get a first look at what will adorn shirts and towels that members will be able to order this summer.
Finally, whether or not you plan to join the meeting, please return your proxy vote. We need a quorum of shareholders to vote at the meeting or by proxy in order to approve the 2020 board of directors. You may either mail in the paper card you received in February, or simply read the material below and reply to this email. Many thanks, and we hope to see all of you in person soon!
Planning for summer in light of Covid-19 (March 17, 2020)
As you know, the Covid-19 epidemic has caused everyone to rethink their plans involving public gatherings, and Valley Pond is no exception. We're in the early days of this epidemic and much will depend on developments in coming weeks, as well as restrictions and recommendations from local, state and federal health officials.
As we develop plans for the summer, we are keeping in mind the following:
Valley Pond as a resource. We are likely to travel less this summer and, provided it is safe, the pond represents a recreation and a respite from other concerns.
Safety. Outdoor recreation is considered a safe practice if social distancing can be maintained. Water is not thought to be a hospitable environment for the virus.
Fairness. If we have to restrict numbers at the pond at one time, we want a method of allocating access that is fair to all shareholders.
Protecting the vulnerable. Some shareholders may have greater vulnerability to the virus and we may consider having periods when the pond is restricted for their use only.
While we have not yet arrived at any decisions, the board of directors is considering options including:
Opening for the season later in the spring than usual.
Opening as usual, but with strict limits on the number of people allowed at one time in order to maximize social distancing. For busy times like weekends, possibilities include limiting the length of visits or creating an online signup method for specific blocks of time.
Not opening the pond at all this summer.
We'll keep shareholders informed, and we invite your feedback and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The best-laid plans are, of course, subject to change in these uncertain times, and this will call for patience and flexibility from all of us.
Shareholder meeting postponed (March 11, 2020)
Due to the Covid-19 situation and resulting changes in school policy, we will not be holding the annual shareholders' meeting next Wednesday, March 18 as planned. The meeting was to be held in the Brooks school auditorium, but Superintendent of Schools Rebecca McFall announced today that community events in the school gyms and auditorium have been canceled.
The Valley Pond board has not yet decided how to proceed with the annual meeting, which normally includes a shareholder vote on the new board of directors, but we will keep you informed. You may direct any questions to me at email@example.com. Thanks for your understanding.
Web site launched (August 26, 2019)
We've finally joined the 21st century and launched a fully functional website at www.valleypond.net. Features include:
Online registration for annual summer membership, swim lessons, and joining the shareholder waiting list
Full list of rules and policies, including swim test requirements
Up-to-date information on hours and anticipated pond closings
If you're a 2019 summer member, stay tuned for a second email about the end of the season (the pond closes on Labor Day). Meanwhile, please have a look at the website and let us know what you think. You can send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Note: since Valley Pond is a private organization, this website is blocked from search engines, and we are sharing the web address only with current and prospective shareholders.)