MASSENA - St. Lawrence County Fisheries Advisory Board member Don Lucas has long taken issue with how the New York Power Authority handles the closing of the boating season.
Mr. Lucas said a public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Massena town hall to discuss those issues.
He said that the NYPA plans to start pulling its docks on Monday, something that has upset a wide spectrum of outdoorsmen.
Last week I was out talking to some of the duck hunters and they were pretty miffed with the fact that they wont have a dock out there next week, Mr. Lucas said. My charter business (Muskie Magic) is really affected by this. Ive been operating out of Massena for 25 years, and weve been raising the issues with NYPA for a long time. Not only is the charter service affected, but it affects duck season which is coming up.
When we come to hunting season, theres also hunters that are put at a disadvantage without any docking facilities. Im a member of the St. Lawrence County Fisheries Advisory Board and we put on a presentation to the St. Lawrence County Legislature. We had photos of what we feel are design flaws and other problems.
Following this presentation the board was given permission to hold next months public comment period.
The meeting was actually in the works in 2012 but was delayed due to Mother Nature.
We contacted a gentleman from the NYPA office in White Plains, NY, Joe Leary. He is the director of Governmental Community Affairs, Mr. Lucas said. We requested the meeting in October and shortly after that they had Hurricane Sandy. Because of the loss of electricity, the meetings all got cancelled. The Fish Advisory Board understood there were bigger problems than us to take care of.
NYPA announced earlier this month they would begin removing docks and buoys along the St. Lawrence River in the vicinity of its St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project on Monday. The process is expected to take approximately two weeks, but is dependent on river and weather conditions.
Docks and buoys will be removed from the following locations:
Howard Park docks
Whitaker Park docks
Old Milk Factory buoys
Massena Intake docks
Hawkins Point dock & buoy
South Channel buoy
NYPA removes its docks and buoys each fall prior to icing conditions to ensure the safety of the public and to the workers performing the removal, as well as to avert damage to boats, docks and buoys during winters sub-freezing temperatures, the power authority noted in its release announcing the plans for the annual dock removals.
Mr. Lucas said his group has been holding meetings recently at the town hall and he expects to see a wide representation of people supporting his arguments at the Nov. 19 meeting.
This issue is big in Waddington, Massena, and Louisville. Were hoping to have in attendance Senator (Joseph A.) Griffo, Senator (Patty A.) Ritchie, and Assemblywoman Addie Russell. This will show good representation from all three municipalities. Were hoping to have them encourage the NYPA to fix their problems, Mr. Lucas said. Also invited is Pat McKeown, director of St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce. Shes also a member of a sport fishing group called Fish Cap. She understands the need for riverfront development. he said.
We plan to have the town supervisors in Waddington, Massena, and Louisville at the meeting. Also from those three towns we may have representation from their rescue squads. The fishermen and hunters, during the later part of the seasons, theres still a possibility of an accident.
He noted that the need for commercial development is crucial, as is the economical development.
While the various issues mainly affect those in Louisville, Massena, and Waddington, people from other counties and states are even affected.
This also affects people in many other towns because those out of town come in and use these facilities, Mr. Lucas said. Wed like to see some development, particularly at the launches, to get some pavilions installed. We would like the Power Authority to maybe put in some pavilions.
We would like them to either put up retaining walls or something that wouldnt have to be taken out every fall. Hopefully something that wouldnt have to wait to be put back in in the spring.