OUACHITA PARISH, LA (2/21/20)– On Tuesday the Ouachita Parish Police Jury voted to close Cheniere Lake Recreational Area No. 6 to the public. Jurors say it became a place where people dumped litter.
“We had a refrigerator here, we had a washing machine here, we had household garbage, and an unbelievable amount of beer cans. Everyone just brought their trash here and threw it out,” said Jack Clampit, Ouachita Parish Police Juror District B.
In addition to the litter, locals used area 6 to go mudding in trucks, ruining the ground were an active gas pipe lies.
“Then they come down here and mud dug at night on a pipeline that is a live gas pipeline. It doesn’t take much for them to dig where it could become a danger factor,” said Clampit.
To help keep the area clean and safe, the police jury will put a gate and lock on the driveway to keep the public out.
“There is no way to police it and you can’t keep enough policemen down here to keep it clean,” said Clampit.
Police Juror Jack Clampit says closing area 6 will not keep the public from recreational activities.
“Once the water goes down you can’t put a boat in there and there is no bait fishing. The bait fishing is down around areas 3 and 1 so the public shouldn’t be unconvinced any way at all,” said Clampit.
Clampit says they don’t know how much it will cost to revamp or revitalize area 6.
He says putting money into an area that is used more frequently and has picnic tables or shelters, like areas 1, 4, 7, and 8, is a smarter use of taxpayers’ dollars.
“The problem you have here is you can’t really build anything on it because it’s below the flood elevation. So when the flood came in 2016, all of this was underwater where we are standing today. So nothing permanent can be built in this area,” said Clampit.
Clampit says temporarily closing area 6 will allow OOPJ to come up with a better plan. In addition, he says construction on Cheniere Lake’s Spillway should finally start sometime this summer and take about a year and a half to finish.