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Some reasons for opposing the falls $40 million dewatering boondoggle


 We smell a rat.

That’s the answer the Niagara Falls Reporter gives anytime someone asks why we are questioning the planned dewatering of the American and Bridal Veil Falls when virtually every elected and appointed official involved in the process supports it, and the rest of the local media has enthusiastically jumped on board.

By no means do we enjoy throwing cold river water on a plan endorsed by such eminent thinkers as Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. CEO John Percy and state Rep. John Ceretto, but spending upwards of $40 million to replace two small bridges used primarily by pedestrians just seems excessive, particularly when a few factors are considered.

First, the bridges can be replaced without dewatering the falls.

How do we know this? Because 115 years ago, in 1901, the bridges were built without dewatering the falls. And anything that could be done technologically at the beginning of the 20th century can certainly be done in the 21st. It’s a no brainer.

Second, despite the rosy predictions of Dyster, Percy, Ceretto and other officials, turning off the falls will not result in more tourism but less.

We know this because, the last time the falls were turned off, in 1969, that is exactly what happened. This headline, from the August 28, 1968 edition of the Niagara Gazette, says it more eloquently than we ever could:

“Quiet Tourist Season in 1969 – Dry Falls Blamed for Decline”

Why city, state and tourism officials unanimously insist that this time will be different is unknown, as is why so much of the mainstream media seems to be buying into it.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we believe that spending in excess of $40 million taxpayer dollars on a project so superfluous seems simply wasteful. The lion’s share of the money will go toward the construction of the cofferdam used to divert the river, as opposed to the precast concrete components that will make up the new bridges.

It is our belief that the project as proposed is little more than an elaborate farce designed to funnel money into the pockets of the engineering firms, construction companies and consultants – campaign contributors in other words – that will be involved.


Does the water have to be shut off? Do the Goat Island pedestrian bridges even need to be replaced?


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