NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Maid of the Mist needs a new storage facility to continue its tours on the American side of Niagara Falls but one group is trying to sink those plans.
Hornblower has won the contract to run tour boats on the Canadian side of the Falls, where the storage facilities are currently located. Now as Maid of the Mist looks to build storage facilities on the American side, a group is getting the courts involved to determine if the new docks are legal. One state official says it's all "part of the process."
After a week of construction at the old Schoellkopf power plant, crews were ordered to stop preliminary work on the new Maid of the Mist docking station after a State Supreme Court judge issued an injunction late last week.
Niagara Preservation Coalition President Lou Ricciuti said, "I don't want to see any boat company on the power plant site. That's it. There's no reason to put a boat dock on this power plant site, period."
Ricciuti formed the coalition 45 days ago for the sole purpose of bringing this lawsuit, claiming there was no public input on the construction of this site.
"The restraining order is just to get them to stop for the moment. It is strictly to have a judge look at it and determine if what they're doing there is just and fair without any public input," Ricciuti said.
The injunction is only temporary. But Mayor Paul Dyster says he is suspicious of the group bringing the lawsuit. The mayor says they're only bringing the case to court to buy time, which is essential to getting the work completed before the busy tourist season begins.
"Put on the mirrored sunglasses and look back into the mirror. I'm drawing the public's attention to the things that we really need to be focused on: the environment, the heritage and is this a good deal," Ricciuti argued.
A Maid of the Mist spokesman released a statement regarding the injunction, saying all permits were issued for work at the site, all procedures were followed, as it pertains to the law, and the fact that this issue was even brought to court is "more of the same from Hornblower."
State officials will not comment about the injunction, but will hold a press conference regarding this case on Tuesday.
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