He’s been on Lake Wylie so long, the wooden boats he remembers are now the ones he reproduces and restores.
Robert Biggerstaff is the newest member of the Lake Wylie Marine Commission, completing the term of fellow Gaston County resident Bill Campbell. Biggerstaff, like five of the nine-commissioner group, is set to serve through 2014.
“I’m of course concerned with boating safety,” Biggerstaff said. “I live right on the South Fork of Lake Wylie. Sedimentation is one problem we’re always looking to address.”
Biggerstaff arrived 15 years ago on Paradise Point, but grew up at a family house on Catawba Cove, near Seven Oaks. He works at the family furniture store opened in 1948 in Gastonia. He even reproduces, restores and collects old-fashioned wooden boats. His familiarity with Lake Wylie should help make a smooth transition to the commission, said Joe Stowe, executive director.
“He knows everybody in the place and knows everything from the word go,” Stowe said. “He’s just a plain-spoken guy, and he’ll be great to have.”
Despite having “seen it all change,” Biggerstaff is keeping up on issues. He’s been a regular attendee of marine commission meetings prior to taking a seat. His hope is to help create a safer, cleaner lake.
“When that’s where I live, that’s where I want to be involved,” Biggerstaff said.
Fellow commissioners welcomed Biggerstaff last week with a two-hour meeting, long by commission standards. The unusually warm spring temperatures could mean an earlier boating season, so more issues could come up sooner.
“We are discussing buoys, and the solutions we are going to try to prevent so many from moving and breaking loose,” said Chairman Smith “Smitty” Hanks.
Other issues include the ongoing effort to move a boat ramp at the lakefront law enforcement facility, and the most recent international safe boating conference attended by local law enforcement officers. Safety in areas where paddlers and motor boats intermingle also is a concern.
The marine commission meets monthly in one of the three counties surrounding Lake Wylie, on a rotating basis. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. the fourth Monday of the month and are open to the public. For more information, visit lakewyliemarinecommission.com.