Governor’s Commission Solicits Ideas For Resiliency Projects On Lake Ontario

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ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – The governor’s new commission on shoreline resiliency met for the first time this week with local representatives from across the southern shore of Lake Ontario.

The meeting room at Greece Town Hall was full of representatives from different agencies, state officials, town supervisors and a few lakefront residents of Monroe County.

Jack Barton (right), Town Supervisor of Parma, discusses plans for replacing septic tanks with a state official at the REDI Commission meeting. Credit Veronica Volk / WXXI News

They all came to workshop solutions to the problems caused by high lake levels, as part of Governor Cuomo’s Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative.

“It is not the governor’s desire for this funding to be used for damage assistance,” said Vinnie Esposito, the the Finger Lakes regional director for Empire State Development. “It’s to improve the resiliency of the lake shore.”

This was the first of four meetings designed to solicit ideas from people in communities across Monroe County’s shoreline – from Hamlin to Webster. The project ideas at the meeting seemed straight forward – things like replacing septic tanks with sewer systems and hardening shorelines.

Eric Peters, town supervisor for Hamlin, says he’s skeptical of the efficacy of this commission.

“I am a little skeptical,” he said at the meeting. “Because it all sounds wonderful, and we’re hoping to get some money for our town. We have a lot of affected residents and there’s no hope for them. We’re not hearing a lot of great answers from anybody as to how this is all gonna be solved.”

What is also unclear is how these projects will be prioritized, and funded. State officials said they would have more information about the process in the future.

Several local officials, including Greece Town Supervisor Bill Rielich and State Senator Joe Robach, took the opportunity to call for a repeal of Plan 2014, a lake level management plan that is being blamed for the high water levels.