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An unfenced pond raises mother's ire

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By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

Keeping young boys inside fences, and getting fences built, can both be tough orders to fill.

Michelle Cook, mother of 6-year-old Nathan Cook, found that out last week.

Her son and two of his best buddies, Landon and Alex Fisher, were playing in Cook's fenced backyard Nov. 6. The boys figured out how to open the back gate and headed straight for a temporary retention pond about 30 feet behind the Cook's property at 19802 101st St. E.

The retention pond is part of the Brookside development, which is being built by Quadrant Homes. The three boys decided heaving rocks into the water would be fun. The pond appeared to be 3-to-6 feet deep with slopped sides.

Cook soon realized the kids were gone and she found them at the edge of the water.

"If they would have slipped in they would have drowned," Cook said. "All the fences and locks we have and kids will still escape sometimes."

Cook stated none of the boys can swim, and although they had been instructed not to leave the yard, boys will be boys.

After thinking about the incident and talking to her neighbors, Cook called Quadrant Nov. 8 to ask that a fence be put around the property.

According to Cook, about a month earlier when the pond was dug, a man she thought was the developer promised her the pond would be fenced.

When Cook called Quadrant, the woman answering her calls was less than enthusiastic about her concerns, Cook said.

"She told me they didn't need to put up a fence," Cook said. "She told me I needed to watch my children and that I wouldn't always get my way."

According to Cook when she called back and asked to speak to a safety coordinator, she was again routed to the same woman.

"She wouldn't let me talk to anyone but her," Cook said. "It was an eye-opening experience. I guess I'm a little disappointed."

When contacted by The Courier-Herald Nov. 10, Quadrant spokesman Bill Boushur promptly returned the call.

"Quadrant wants to do the right thing," Boushur said. "I think we will make everyone happy. Any prudent person would say this (pond) causes concern."

Boushur stated the developer, Invesco, will install a temporary fence around the pond.

"It will be a vinyl safety fence," Boushur said. "The maximum size of the holes are small enough you can't put your fist through."

As of the press deadline on Monday the fence had not been constructed.

"To be a million dollar developer," Cook said, "they ought to be able to put up a fence."

Quadrant Homes is a subsidiary of the Weyerhaeuser Co. and is, according to Quadrant's Web site, the most prolific home builder in the state.

The Brookside development is designed for 269 homes.

The Brookwater development, where the Cook house sets, was also built by Quadrant.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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