NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Maid of the Mist is one of the oldest tourist attractions inthe world, but controversy behind the scenes is casting a darkcloud on the future of the famous boat rides.
Maid of the Mist operators were putting the docks in place. Theseason starts this Saturday. But there's a new question about whoshould operate the boat tours.
Former Niagara Parks Commissioner Bob Gale said, "I'm outspoken,I look into things."
Gale thought it was wrong that the Canadian government never putthe job out for bid, but was ready to renew the contract with theGlynn Family, which has operated the Maid of the Mist Corporationfor 40 years. Here's a letter from the owners of Ripley's BelieveIt or Not asking the Commission "defer making any decisions onrenewing the lease until we have the opportunity."
"This was wrong, this was not fair what went on, so the besttender in a fair process will win this," said Gale.
Now, Maid of the Mist is on a month-to-month contract basis asthe Niagara Parks Commission is preparing to put the job out topublic bidding. This rebidding process only deals with the right tooperate on the Canadian side. As for the American side, the NYState Office of Parks is locked into a 40 year agreement with thecurrent operators of the Maid of the Mist.
President of Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation JohnPercy, Jr. said, "Everything is built around Maid of the Mist, soany type of disruption in that service for this year I think wouldbe totally detrimental for the future as well."
The Maid of the Mist Corporation has the trademark on the nameand plans to rebid.
Tim Ruddy, VP of Marketing for Maid of the Mist, said, "We arehopeful the result will lead to Maid of the Mist being able tooperate boat tours to visitors for several years to come."
About a dozen companies are expected to bid for the jobincluding, possibly Disney. But even if a new company is chosen, weprobably wouldn't notice any change for at least a couplesummers.
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