Author Topic: A Final Thought on the Facebook Stop the Canal Clear Cut Group  (Read 30 times)

Doug K

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I guess the existence of the Stop the Canal Clear Cut Group on Facebook owes itself to the answer of this simple question…What do you see in this picture?



This image has been used as an example of people’s attitude in life for as long as I can remember. Optimist vs Pessimist, Protagonist vs Antagonist, those who make lemonade and those that whine about their lemons. I think in the end the MAJORITY of the people who are backing the ideas put forward by this STCCC group are no doubt in that camp of “half-empty”. People like this seem to concentrate on what they “think” they are losing, never contemplating once about what they might be gaining and why.

If they win the State Lottery they most likely complain about having to pay the taxes on their new fortune.

What’s wrong with this Picture?

Even though the main topic being discussed, between the NY Canal Corporation (NYCC) and the general public living along the Erie Canal, is Embankment Dam Safety, this STCCC group (still to this day) only wants to talk about Trees, Shade, the Ozone Layer and the Rain Forest… anything but earthen dam safety. They don’t believe the message, have tormented the messenger for over two years, and now are whining about the fact that the Canal Corporation is still talking about safety. We should ALL be talking about Canal safety, about getting rid of Unsafe Dams.

They do not care that according to the New York State Comptroller, Tom DiNapoli, the Erie Canal is a huge public safety issue. It’s all in a report from 2015 when the Canal was owned by the NYS Thruway. You only need to read a few pages of these documents that show how badly the canal system has been maintained.

https://www.osc.state.ny.us/about/bio.htm



* You can read the entire report here  https://www.osc.state.ny.us/audits/allaudits/093015/14s45.pdf

After two years of NO response about the Erie Canal safety concerns cited by the State Comptroller from the Thruway Authority, the decision was made to move the NY Canal Corporation, and ALL of it’s property, to a more suitable management team, the New York Power Authority (NYPA). Immediately after taking ownership of the Canal System from the Thruway, NYPA set out using both Professional Engineering inspections and internal Safety Assessments, to see how mechanically sound the overall canal structure was, they were stunned to say the least. Here’s portions of an interview given to a major website regarding the learnings NYPA has found as a direct result of this Integrity Program work.

https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2017/08/01/nypa-sees-looming-capital-expenses-for-canal-system-113695



As you see this Embankment Integrity Program work is about safety. Safety of both the system itself, dams locks and water sources, but also safety of the NEIGHBORS of the Erie Canal. It’s about fixing an aging State Asset that is falling apart. It is about insuring the Public is protected by doing proper, timely Embankment Dam Inspections. It is about being responsible to the citizens of this state to FIX canal system SAFETY issues identified almost 6 years ago now.

Yet this STCCC group NEVER mentions the word – S A F E T Y, why not?

It is not about SAVING the TREES that are doing the damage to the Embankments, no matter how much some people might want to think that’s possible. Of course this line of thinking, glass half empty folks, they seem to think the words “Unsafe Embankment Dams” sits well with canal neighbors living below them… they try to convince them to keep the trees, don’t worry about floods.

It’s not about “cool shade” either. It’s about NO floods. It’s about saving people living below UNSAFE dams from the burden of National Flood Insurance payments. It’s about floods that may take lives of family or neighbors. But a group that doesn’t even admit that there IS a safety issue in the first place doesn’t care about those other “details”. Can’t see the forest for the trees I guess... sad huh?

Let me tell you as a REAL Canal Neighbor; the words UNSAFE DAM should make any homeowner concerned if there home is situated along the canal… for more reasons than we need to list. The fact that this group isn’t working to ELIMINATE those words unsafe dam by supporting this NYS Canal Restoration says it all perhaps.

They choose to ignore those two words at the PERIL of their own “neighbors”… not their own.

The New York Canal Corporation has been VERY clear about what they are doing. Their communication has been excellent, despite what some in the STCCC group might say. They have a dedicated website for their Embankment Integrity Program, its chock full of all kinds of reference documents, schedules and State Required Environmental Forms. Of course the STCCC has stated they do NOT get enough communication on this Program. Maybe it’s because they don’t really understand what the Embankment Integrity Program is about, so why waste time until the “light bulb” goes on. GREAT place to start, and also get documents showing Embankment work across the entire state.

http://www.canals.ny.gov/Earthen_Embankment/index.html



The Canal Corporation has already stated they are following FEMA and US army Corp of Engineers direction, and ample documentation on the matter of proper vegetation for these types of structures. These guides are the best sources to understand the issues with trees on Dams and also the dynamics of maintaining a clear dam to make inspection easier. Sadly, once again the Stop the Canal ClearCut group says they don’t believe a word of it, have their own “experts” and the Canal should have “special” rules, rules with no prior usage, never been tested, and have to hold back millions of gallons of water from killing people as a Dam. Think we might stick with proven designs.

http://www.canals.ny.gov/vegetation/Federal-Guidelines.html



But of course, we all can chose to believe what we want to…it’s a “free world”… right? Here’s what the STCCC folks are chatting about in their Town & Village. Remember that the NY Canal Corporation has made a video SPECIFICALLY for the Eastside of Rochester trying to warn them of the danger they are in… it’s known as Constructive Notice and legally works like an “Don’t Blame Us, we told you all about this possibility” in the event of a flood. They still will not say that any of this work is being done to restore Dam Safety, or Safety of those living around them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbuJ31xvoOA




FINAL…Final Thought.

So, my “final thoughts” about this Facebook group come down to a simple facts…

Some people never accept change no matter how good it is for them.
 
Some people will seek out their own “truth”, when the real truth doesn’t fit their preconceived ideas.

Some people go through life oblivious to the fact that the world “really” doesn’t revolve around them.
 
And that age old saying… You can please all of the people all of the time… this is one of those times

Please consider what you have just read...
Folks, leaving embankment dams that are already classified as UNSAFE in our communities is not an option for NYS. Thinking otherwise minimizes the seriousness of the current NY State Canal System problems.
 
Those fighting against this work, STCCC leaders especially, will regret their “blindness” one day. In the meanwhile the NY Canal Corporation and New York Power Authority have a job to do. A job that the leadership of this Facebook group does NOT have to worry about themselves. The NY Canal Corp Leadership & NYPA have to keep New Yorkers SAFE from any potential public disasters… including floods from unsafe Erie canal dams. No option to look away when public safety is at risk when you work for the State of NY... and the STCCC does not own the canal or work for it.

The work being done along the NYS Canal System, right now, was set into motion in 2014, it received funding in 2016 and was handed over to the NY Power Authority to oversee in 2017, which they are doing admirably. Despite the fact that people are fighting AGAINST their safety program, something no one expected. Despite the fact that some towns sued to STOP a safety project meant to help their towns, not hurt them. Against efforts to derail their initial project, these folks have cleared 20% of the raised embankments on over 40 Earthen Dam work zones from 2018 - 2020.

Despite the fact that some people in our community think that humans should keep living under threat of potential canal flooding, in order to save the dangerous trees causing the safety problems, the trees along the Canal System will eventually be removed from UNSAFE embankment dams. There isn't really any choice that could be made that would allow UNSAFE Dams to remain across the state, is there?

Whether we like the method that is recommended to fix these canal embankments or not, the truth is that the State can't "do nothing" as the Facebook Stop Group would recommend here, and has fought for in the past two years. This Stop Group, and it's LEADERS have stated that they DO want to leave 327 Erie Canal Neighbors, who live below these dams from Medina to Perinton, living below unsafe dams forever. No thought at ALL to those Erie neighbors who will forever be wondering if their families are in danger from the dam in their backyard. An earthen dam that is unsafe according to the dam owners...but not to the Stop the Canal Clear Cut Group.

The statement - "Some people just don't know, what they don't know" seems a fitting way to end here...


« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 11:44:52 am by Doug K »

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Doug K

  • Global Moderator
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  • Posts: 402
  • Location: Brockport
It took awhile but New York Power, shortly after taking ownership of the NYS Canal System, issued this reply to the Office of the NY State Comptroller report that showed the Canal System needed immediate repair in 2015. This reply was issued in early 2017, and is clear on Embankment Vegetation Management

https://osc.state.ny.us/audits/90day/16f20r.pdf