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Village plans upgrades on waterfront

Changes are coming to the Lewiston waterfront this summer, with updates to boat launches, more security and the possibility of stricter rules for charter captains.

The Village Board recently announced a $23,476 upgrade at Lewiston Landing that will replace eight boat slips.

The state will fund 80 percent of the project, with the village covering the other 20 percent.

Village Engineer Michael Merino said the new docks will be aluminum.

Victor E. Eydt, a board member, described the 15-year-old docks -- made of wood -- as "well-used" and in "dire shape."

"You certainly got your money's worth out of what's there," Merino agreed.

Eydt said security cameras will be installed on the waterfront by June 1. Last summer, the village put up "no swimming" signs to stop an influx of teens from swimming in the area, leading to rowdiness and vandalism.

Also, the Lower Niagara Charter Association approached the board with a proposal designed to keep the area safe and clean. Fishing charter boat captains would be required to meet insurance and licensing standards before they are allowed to use the boat launch and Lewiston Landing fish-cleaning station.

The charter captains would be required to have a valid U.S. Coast Guard license, meet Coast Guard requirements for safety and proper business practices, be members of the Lower Niagara Charter Association and have proof of charter insurance.

Mayor Terry C. Collesano said the proposal is also designed to ease the threat of litigation against the village.

Currently, he said, charter insurance is not required by law, inspections by the Coast Guard are voluntary, and charter licenses have to be renewed every five years. No system, he added, has been set up to check these licenses.

"There are some people claiming to be charter captains, but they are not licensed," Collesano said. "If there is an accident, they could sue [the village], and we have no way of protecting ourselves."

The new rules would make the charter organization and the Coast Guard responsible for policing charters.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com