NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - An improvement project at one of the most popular tourist spots in Niagara Falls could be hindered by government red tape.
Landscape work continues at Three Sisters Islands in Niagara Falls State Park. Officials say a temporary access road across a smaller section of the Niagara River was needed to get construction equipment to the islands. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say park officials never made a formal application to build the road before work started.
"This particular permit is of a type that does require them to formally contact our office," said Joseph Kassler of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "Request the use of the permit, send in an application to our office. They didn't because they believed they were being covered by other permits that do not require that."
Mark Thomas, Western District Director of NYS Parks, argues all requirements have been fulfilled.
"We're not damaging anything here," he stated. "We're all working together. They all know we're on a very tight time frame to get this project done, and they're expecting us to restore this stream bed. As we would. As we would with any parks project we do that."
The temporary structure, which has culverts to allow water to flow underneath, was recently inspected by the Army Corps.
Kassler said, "What we want to know is whether or not it's going to impede flow in any way, cause flooding upstream or a water deficit downstream."
The Army Corps is in the process of reviewing information provided by state parks, and obtained during the recent inspection.
Thomas assured, "People won't even know this was here when we're done, where we're standing right now will be back into a stream bed again."
The Army Corps is in the process of determining whether the temporary access road qualifies from an umbrella permit already held by the state parks. A formal determination has not been made yet.
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