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Lewiston trustees asked to consider boat speed limit


Sat, Sep 26th 2015 07:00 am

By Joshua Maloni

Managing Editor

Though the Village of Lewiston is looking into obtaining a portable breakwall to curb wave damage to the Water Street shoreline, Guard Street resident Claudia Marasco said trustees should consider a speed limit for boaters - and jet boats, in particular.

"Some people are ... wondering if that wake won't just work itself ... underneath that (breakwall)," she said at Monday's monthly Village Board meeting.

"We might have some leverage about the problems on the river," Marasco said, and pointed out a section of the village codebook where a 5 mph speed limit is mentioned.

Section 13-11B states, in part, that no watercraft shall exceed the 5 mph speed limit in the area between the northerly line on Onondaga Street as extended into the river, and the southerly line of Cayuga Street as extended into the river - and for a distance of 100 feet from the shoreline. It also states no watercraft shall travel at a speed that creates a wake.

Under the zoning heading, in section 10, the codebook states, "The existing Niagara escarpment shall not be breached, excavated, blasted or otherwise altered or damaged."

"Maybe that's a great starting point?" she asked. "We already have something. Instead of spending a whole bunch of money on something we're not even sure would even work. And I'm sure that you have the ability to extend that (speed limit) line a little further along the village. And you certainly have the ability, from what I understand in that codebook, to make amendments or do what you need."

"Claudia, we are aware of the first (codebook entry)," Mayor Terry Collesano said. "We do have a speed limit that's out there now. I think what we're going to look at is an extension that would go up as far as Artpark. We are looking at that."

In mid-summer, Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours' Lewiston fleet began trolling along the Buckholtz docks just north of Artpark. But Marasco said her shoreline and the neighboring state park still get beat up by boats whirling and twirling and stirring up waves.

WJBT jet boats also travel from Canada while Niagara Jet Adventures operates out of Youngstown.

"I think it's time that something has to be looked at," Marasco said. "Because it's not a good situation."

Trustee Vic Eydt said he's watched the Niagara County Sheriff's Office and Coast Guard pull private boats over for traveling at excessive speeds. However, "The wakes are from outside - when they're over on the Canadian side," he said. "They're all wafting all the way across. That is the problem that we're up against."

Deputy Mayor Bruce Sutherland said the board will consult with the Army Corps of Engineers about a floating breakwall.

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