Letter to the Editor of the Buffalo News
“Peace Bridge Site Selection Process Imperils Strawberry Island”
On November 14, 2002 more than one hundred people gathered on Grand Island to protest the consideration of several alternative bridge alignments that would have a severe adverse impact on the ecology of the Niagara River. During this meeting representatives of the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority admitted that the proposed crossings at the foot of Sheridan Drive spanning the river between Strawberry and Motor Islands were not feasible. However, Authority representatives made it clear that these alternatives will continue to be receive consideration because of pressure applied by what they refer to as “higher authority”.
It turns out that this “higher authority “ is none other than Robin Schimminger (D) who represents the 140th Assembly District. He and his cronies have made it clear that they intend to secure a bridge crossing that in their view will refocus all of the economic benefits of this project wholly within the Town of Tonawanda. Not satisfied that the Town he represents has paved over nearly every valuable environmental resource within its jurisdiction, he now wants to take the final step to finish off one of the last high quality aquatic habitats left in the Niagara River corridor.
Over the last decade government agencies, local businesses and a host of volunteers representing nearly every walk of life have worked together to save Strawberry island, preserve the Motor Island heron rookery and restore lost wetlands. In fact the State of New York has contributed nearly two million dollars to this restoration effort. The Schimminger bridge plan will not only undo all of this great work but will cause irrevocable harm to the ecology of the Niagara River.
Strawberry Island has no constituency. If you want to protect this valuable resource you need to speak out. One more workshop will be convened on December 7, 2002 by the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority at the studios of WNED, 140 Lower Terrace at Charles St. downtown Buffalo. Please attend and let the Authority know that no matter how important a few special interests feel about these alternatives that you are not willing to let them destroy the environment just to get a signature bridge.
Paul G. Leuchner
Grand Island, New York