Despite flooding, businesses are open

Lake Ontario Water Levels Expected to Continue Rising

KENDALL, N.Y. -- While most people were celebrating Mother's Day, flooding along Lake Ontario remains a huge concern for shoreline business owners and homeowners.

Lake levels are expected to continue rising, even though there hasn't been much rainfall over the past few days.

The farther east, the worse it gets.

Sunday in Orleans County, the effects of erosion were noticeable everywhere.

Kendall is one of several towns that the U.S. Army Corps has identified to analyze how badly it’s been hit.

Bald Eagle Marina has been working non-stop to prevent further flooding of its business.

A beach, at first washed away, is now on its way to being rebuilt, thanks to some proactive action.

"This whole area in here was water,” said Susan Oschmann, general manager of the marina.

Since the erosion starting getting bad, workers have been bringing rock and sand in to replace the beach and make sure the jetties stay visible to boaters.

"We couldn't lose any more, because if we lost this structure, [the water] would have taken away the grass there, which our docks are linked to. So, this marina would have become a basin instead of a marina,” Oschmann said.

The beach, she explained, used to be a parking lot with grass and picnic tables. Now, it’s a barren rock base protected by a newly built rock wall.

The Marina is lucky that its docks float. The upward angle of the ramps from land to the docks give a good visual idea of how high the water has raised them.

Despite these challenges, the marina is open for business, and in fact, the owner is continuing work on a new restaurant set to open in June.

But all this hard work, while smart and proactive, comes at a price. Oschmann estimates that it has cost around 72,000 for the manpower and work that’s been required to save the marina. She’s heard there may be reimbursement funds available from the DEC, however, she says the state agency hasn’t provided specific information on how to recoup losses yet.

The good news for the region is that fishing is as good as ever.

Mike Waterhouse, the sportfish coordinator for Orleans County tourism, says fishing in Orleans County is a $10 million tourism business, and it’s critical to the economy that people don't shy away from visiting the lake.

“To lose that is a big hit,” Waterhouse said. “Nothing is closed, really. Even the marinas that have docks under water are still finding ways to get their customers to their boats, to the charter boats to enjoy the greatness of Lake Ontario.”

Another piece of good news is that the Bald Eagle Marina is making itself available to help neighbors who have suffered land loss. Oschmann says she wants to help.

"Because we have the manpower, we will start helping some other families along the shoreline...So we'll be out putting rock in front of other people's homes soon, and hopefully making a difference,” she said.

An important takeaway is that despite Mother Nature, businesses and parks are open, and they’re relying of visitors to come this summer.

Similarly, the Village Shoppes of Olcott are now open for the season, even though flooding issues continue there. The Shoppes are open 12-6 on Saturdays and Sundays.

© 2017 WGRZ-TV


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