LEWISTON, N.Y. -- The Village of Lewiston is calling on all boaters to be “good neighbors” until the high water levels and erosion crisis subsides.
It's a simple concept: wakes from boats create waves on the shoreline. The faster those boats go by, the bigger the waves are that crash into communities like Lewiston, communities that are already devastated by high water erosion.
Village mayor Terry Collesano says Niagara Jet Adventures, the tourist high-speed boat ride out of Youngstown, has been particularly insensitive about the flooding and erosion.
“We would like very much for them, just, if they could, slow down the boats or stay away from our shorelines,” Collesano said.
Collesano said he invited the head of Niagara Jet Adventures to a Village board meeting Wednesday night, but he did not come. Meanwhile, Village property owners say the tourist attraction is coming through Lewiston at speeds that are wreaking havoc on the already flood-damaged area.
Collesano said all boaters need to be aware of their impact on the water during this time.
“Fishermen, powerboats, jet boats…anything going up and down the river at high speeds is causing tremendous damage to our waterfront,” Collesano said.
In the short time since Channel 2 was in Lewiston last, much of the Village’s waterfront is now closed off by orange fencing.
A new sign from the Department of Transportation warns boaters of a 5 mile per hour speed limit.
“Now the Governor [has] placed a sign on the dock,” said Superintendent of Public Works Terry Brolinski. “This is a Governor order of a no wake zone from the Niagara River all the way down to, I believe, the St. Lawrence seaway.”
The Village has already lost three docks. Property owners next door are ripping out floor boards and stuffing them with sandbags to try and save their own docks.
“We're losing our whole walkways, we're losing the three docks that we have here,” Broklinski said, surveying the damage.
The Village worries lamp posts may be next because the constant waves of water are eating away at the asphalt around the lamps. All this, and still no cooperation from Niagara Jet Adventures.
“There is a problem here, and we do have to talk to them, we do have to resolve this, and if they could just be considerate and be good neighbors, I'm sure it would go a long way,” said Mayor Collesano.
“It's one of mother nature's natural beauties, and it just seems like some people don't care.” Said Brolinski.
Village officials understand the DOT’s 5 mph speed limit up to 600 feet from the shoreline will be tough to enforce. Brolinski said the Sheriff’s office will patrol the water, but anyone who sees boats speeding is encouraged to take down that boat's info and report it to police as well.
Channel 2’s Erica Brecher has tried contacting Niagara Jet Adventures twice by phone and twice by e-mail, all four times with no reply.