by Mary Cooke
Town of Grand Island Supervisor
Hello, Grand Islanders!
I hope you've been able to get out and enjoy the snow and winter events. It's been a few years since we've had conditions so suitable for snow and ice activities for several successive days. I haven't seen this much ice on the river in a long time and it's been especially interesting to see people ice-skating and playing hockey among the docks.
Several people have contacted me with various views on snowmobiling. Grand Island has a beautiful trail system maintained by the Grand Island Snowmobile Club. Their leaders are very interested in providing the best and safest possible snowmobile experience for anyone out on the trails. Members spend hours marking and grooming trails and educating their members about safe and courteous use of snowmobiles. They expect snowmobilers to follow the trails and the rules. In return, the snowmobile operator gets a great ride in a gorgeous place. Grand Island has the only snowmobile trail along the Niagara River and anyone who has been out there has enjoyed a beautiful scene unique to our town. Visitors (and hopefully many Grand Islanders) greatly appreciate this opportunity to use the State Park Trails from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with the required permit. Concerns about snowmobiles include excessive speed, excessive noise and use of the machines in restricted areas and past the hours of operation. Snowmobile enthusiasts, please observe trails and signs and be courteous, especially when riding close to homes. Use common sense and the golden rule (treat others as you'd like to be treated) for a good experience out on the trails.
Several public hearings are scheduled for the March 3 Town Board meeting. One is for a proposed local law "prohibiting and providing penalties for placing injurious substances on public highways in the Town of Grand Island." We have a big problem with snow being placed or left on the roads. Some Islanders seem to think that it's OK to blow or plow snow from their driveway or sidewalk onto the road because the municipal plow truck will handle it. Others move the snow across the road and quit before the job is finished, leaving fingers of snow in the driving lanes. Placing and/or leaving snow on the road causes dangerous situations for other drivers and for highway crews. This law will allow the police to ticket those who put or leave snow (or other substances) on the road, which we hope will help solve the problem. Another suggestion to deal with the problem is to license all snow removal operators. The Town Board thought this was not the best idea because the real problem is the snow left on the road. It is not only commercial operators who do this, sometimes it's a property owner. It is unlikely we would license every snow blower or snowplow in the town. Chasing after everyone who is plowing to check if they have a permit was not something the Town Board was interested in doing. The Town Board chose to deal with the snow left on the road instead of requiring anyone who plows or blows snow to get a permit from the town. We look forward to hearing from you at the public hearing.
A property owner is responsible for clearing the sidewalk of snow and ice. Unplowed sidewalks are reported to the Code Enforcement Office and an inspection of the entire neighborhood is made. Letters are issued to property owners whose sidewalks need attention. The town, and particularly your neighbors, appreciate your quick attention to clearing the sidewalks after a snowfall.
When clearing snow from your driveways and sidewalks, please remember to clear the area around the nearest fire hydrant. The time saved during a fire will be appreciated by everyone involved. If you have elderly or ill neighbors, please offer them a hand with these tasks. One more winter reminder - please observe winter parking rules, in effect until March 31: no parking on any roads between 2 and 7 a.m.
A resident recently contacted me about the problems of feeding feral cats. If you are leaving food outside for these animals, please stop now. The problem is that these cats use neighboring bushes and gardens for their litter boxes and the smell of cat urine becomes unbearable. Some experiencing this are allergic to cats. Food left outside for feral cats also attracts rodents that become a problem for the entire neighborhood.
It was great to see so many of you when you were in Town Hall this month to pay water bills and taxes. Thanks for stopping by! I welcome your ideas and am easily reached by phone at 716-773-9600, ext. 616, or by email at [email protected].