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Village of Lewiston seeks solution to damaging wakes at marina

LEWISTON – High water was being blamed for especially damaging wakes in the Lewiston marina this summer, but a permanent solution may be years down the road.

The Village Board met with Whirlpool Jet Boat owner John Kinney and the Coast Guard chief at Youngstown, Adam Pedzich, about possible solutions to the wakes caused by jet boats.

One permanent solution discussed was the installation of a floating breakwater, which could be removed at the end of each season.

The cost for this type of a solution is unknown, but Village Engineer Michael Marino said after the meeting that it would be more than a year and a half down the line before officials could consider getting state funding for it through their Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.

But everyone at the meeting considered it an option.

“I love the idea of a floating breakwall,” Kinney said.

He said this summer the village experienced “historic water levels” about 2 feet higher in the Niagara River than what they normally are in the summer.

He said the higher water levels are magnifying the intensity of the wakes, but Kinney said he has begun efforts to slow down his jet boat when they troll out of the marina in Lewiston.

“There’s been some banter about speed limits,” Kinney said, “but it would be difficult to enforce.” He said that unlike speed limits, a floating breakwater is “an absolute solution.”

Pedzich agreed that speed limit would be hard to enforce but that a portable breakwater would eliminate the wakes.

Harry Buckholtz, owner of Ridge Comber Marina, adjacent to the Whirlpool Jet Boat dock, said after the meeting that he appreciated the discussion for a more permanent solution.

Parking was also discussed. Mayor Terry C. Collesano said that the village has a local law that calls for two-hour parking but that it doesn’t have enough police personnel or signage to enforce it.

Jamie Symmonds, a representative from the Lower Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce, said business owners and their employees are sometimes the biggest culprits taking up premium spaces on Center Street.

Symmonds said a two-hour limit may not be practical for going out to dinner or shopping.

Collesano said the village may want to consider “tweaking” a local law that it not being enforced.