Author Topic: New York Canal Corporation SEQR Announcement - What did we learn?  (Read 86 times)

Doug K

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A recent statement released from the NYS Canal Corporation, regarding their Embankment Repair Project, seems to have brought the "Battle for the Erie Canal" back to life. Already the press in Rochester is stirring the pot of public sentiment & folks like the Stop The Clear Cut Facebook Group (STCC started this "litigation" of a safety project) are claiming a victory of sorts. I'm chalking this up, as an Engineer, to "Learning from your 1st Prototype" and the recent decisions by the NY Power Authority show they are learning fast.

People actually fighting AGAINST a safety project in one third of the 10 major Villages in the initial clearing section (of this "critical to safety" project) certainly wasn't planned for, and it appears the NYCC / NYPA statement shows it won't happen again. Here's what was released to press & public regarding the Embankment Repair Project >>>

Here is the complete statement from the Canal Corporation:

The safety of the Erie Canal embankment remains a top priority for the New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation. After careful consideration, we have decided not to appeal the temporary restraining order regarding the Embankment Safety Program. Instead, we will pursue a comprehensive environmental review of the program across the entire state Canal System, not just in the three towns that pursued litigation. The public will have the opportunity to provide input during this process. We are confident this environmental review will confirm our position that removing vegetation from the embankment is both an appropriate and prudent step to ensure the safety of those who live and work on or near the canals.
In communities where the embankment has already been cleared, the Canal Corporation is preparing to remove and dispose of tree stumps, improve slopes to facilitate seeding and maintenance and install a toe-drain to reduce water buildup at the base of the embankment. That work is expected to begin in November. The Canal Corporation plans to hold a meeting in December where the public can provide input about enhancing the visual aesthetic along the Erie Canal following vegetation removal and is also in the process of hiring a design consultant to facilitate that conversation.

Now..go back to the First Paragraph and read the LAST statement again. See the word that not enough people are talking about with this project? See it?'s 'SAFETY', and the NY Canal Corporation now has irrefutable data to support the Embankment Remediation & Repair Project, or as some call it, "clear cutting". At the end of the day ALL 122 miles of Embankments will need to be cleared, in order to be SAFE, in order to be INSPECTED & in order to be MAINTAINED properly. It's always been about safety, but that message was sadly drowned out by "Save the Trees" chants... the very thing that was the "root cause" (pun intended) of the whole dilapidated state of these Embankments.

Finally we see the direction this project will be taking, PROVE the Reasons why, then MAKE the embankments safe... and eventually ALL Embankments will be fixed... once they take the time to dot their "i's & cross their t's". It will cost more to each taxpayer but in the end will insure the MISTAKES made in and around Rochester are NOT repeated... always make lemonade when someone fights against 'safety'.

Get used to that idea folks, CLEAR, GRASS COVERED EMBANKMENTS. And starting thinking about what this means to each of our communities that now need to create action plans for: Flood Evacuation Routes, Public Warning Systems, working with the public learning all about "Living with Dams in your Communities." Like we've often heard when something changes the Status Quo... THIS changes EVERYTHING!... and it's about time,  if you ask a few local couples who've been living with the issues caused by  "fighting safety" daily.

Here's a Link to FEMA advice on Living with Dams, good place to start a journey on Dams.

Here's a Link to Dams 101 (note, earthen dams are the most problematic for safety)

This first Embankment Repair Project phase, starting in Dec 2017 through Today, and running from Lockport To Lyons, was part of the "learning curve" for the New Ownership of The NY Erie Canal System. It looks like the New York Power Authority learned that some people WILL "bite the hand" that is making their life safer. They took it all in stride and "re-created" the project to include more supporting evidence.

The New York Canal Corporation has learned their NEW owner, NYPA, takes the word SAFETY very seriously. They are sparing NO expense on insuring that public safety is NOT something they are careless with. They have years of experience doing this same type work statewide, too bad some in our communities actually believe these folks are "lying" about safety. They also are busier than ever and keenly focused on safety now... not profits.

The rest of the Public, including those of us being referred to as "neighbors", hopefully will learn our own lessons as this Erie Canal Safety Project rolls along, clearing and restoring these Embankments to a safer, manageable condition. Much of that in our own backyards. Hopefully each of the Erie Canal Neighbors has a chance to have their voice heard, and so we've created a place to do just that... go here for more.

As for my Wife, Sandy and I, we are living BELOW the water level of the Erie Canal, with 4 million gallons of water being held back by an "unsafe & aging" Earthen Dam a mere 40' away from our home along 400' of shoreline; We've learned to never underestimate the ignorance of some folks in our community who fail to understand their actions are placing MANY others in Harm's Way. We have one active leak on our property, another couple we see forming, and this project has opened our eyes to the fact that when it comes to a decision of protecting "nature" or protecting safety..we should ALWAYS chose SAFETY... no matter what anyone else says, never bite Safety's Helping Hand.

What did you each learn?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 05:10:24 am by Michael Caswell »

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