As a Wilmette resident lucky enough to live near the lake, my wife and I take full advantage of Gillson beach. I was actually pleased to see the village reduce the size of the free beach in the last couple of years, prompting people from other communities and some Wilmette residents to buy beach passes or pay the daily admission fee.
I understand that people have the right to use the free side. On warm days the amount of people on the free side frequently out number the people on the pay side by two or three to one. The problem that I have with this situation is not only the badly needed money the village is missing out on, but the total lack of obedience displayed by these beachgoers.
Lifeguards walking up and down the beach to patrol tell the people that there is no swimming allowed, as no lifeguards are stationed on watch. There are signs stating no swimming and $50 fines for violators.
Guards with bull horns tell people swimming is not allowed and are either fully ignored or swimmers immediately return to the water after they pass. If disastrously someone does drown in these unpatrolled waters, the family of the victim will undoubtedly file a lawsuit against the village of Wilmette.
It is time to station lifeguards on that stretch of beach; or fence the beach and charge admission as well as station lifeguards; or have police officers issue tickets to the violators.