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Open forum held to discuss the future of New Buffalo lifeguards

NEW BUFFALO, Mich. -- Thursday there was an open forum at New Buffalo City Hall where whether to employee lifeguards at beaches in town was addressed.

City Administrators in New Buffalo said there is a risk of saying they have lifeguards on their beaches with a limited amount of lifeguards on staff.

However, people in the community like Peter Carey said removing lifeguards would carry a big risk.

“We want to avoid drownings because they're taking about cutting their budget, cutting the lifeguards out to help the budget and the fact that it's a liability and I think it's more of a liability if you take the first responders that the lifeguards are out of the picture,” said Carey.

Since 2010, Lake Michigan has had more drownings than any other great lake.

That fact was mentioned at the meeting by those who support keeping lifeguards on the beach.

“We were given three minutes today to talk about the importance of lifeguards, only three minutes. We want people to understand that for a drowning victim three minutes is the world,” says David Benjamin of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.

A final decision on whether to keep the lifeguards on New Buffalo beaches will be made at a public hearing at the end of May.

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