REDI Commission Reviewing Ideas to Deal with Lake Ontario Water Levels

Commission currently going over 67 project proposals, no timeline yet on final decision

Tom Puckett
July 31, 2019 - 4:00 am

Flooding in patio area of Olcott Yacht Club by Lake Ontario. July 11, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) With water levels rising to record levels in Lake Ontario, communities along the lakeshore are coming up with ideas to mitigate the water and possibly prevent flooding woes in the future.

Governor Cuomo's REDI Commission is making stops this week along Lake Ontario's shoreline, making a stop Tuesday in Albion. State Senator Rob Ortt says 67 projects have been proposed. "The number of projects has grown, and state officials need to know which projects local stakeholders think are important, because when that final list comes out, if that project's not on that list it's not going to get funded," says Ortt. He believes infrastructure will be important. "It's a big deal for a lot of communities. If intakes and outflows are flooded, that's a problem."

He says this has been helpful for state officials to get a feel for what projects are needed. "It can't be Albany saying we think this project's important, because if those elected in the community don't agree, why are we doing it?" notes Ortt.

Ortt says he'll push to see that the big projects get funded but no determination will be made for several months. 

This year has not been too bad on Newfane says Supervisor Tim Horanburg. "The lake has been fairly calm," says Horanburg. "We've only had one episode because of heavy rains. We still have our road drains flooded. The water level's gone down to the point where we're able to let the surface water run into the lake and harbor."

Horanburg hopes some of the projects will help homeowners in low lying areas from future headaches and business owners back in business.

Horanburg says the projects will be graded on economic and flood value. "I don't know if it will help with water levels, but I hope it will with our resiliency with those levels, make it stronger in our harbor area and lakeshore area," says Horanburg. 

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