EVANS, N.Y. (WIVB) – A popular spot for fishing and boating along Lake Erie is closed, and a citizens’ group is turning up the heat to get it opened.
The group calls itself, “Save Our Marina”, and they’re calling officials in Evans to open the Sturgeon Point Marina.
The group has a number of issues with Town of Evans officials over the inner harbor being closed, possibly for the whole summer.
Town officials say the marina is not safe to use, but protesters strongly disagree.
More than 50 protesters came out Monday to speak their mind at the Sturgeon Point Marina, accusing Evans town officials of squandering thousands of dollars that has been set aside for maintaining the popular fishing and boating harbor on Lake Erie.
They accused the town of paying more than $100,000 to dredge tons of sand and silt from the mouth of the harbor when it could have been done for much less – but town officials say the breakwall and docks are badly in need of repair.
“We have reports from marine contractors, that is a lot of money,” Peter Bogulski of Save Our Marina said.
Mary Hosler, Evans town supervisor, said that the wall is in critical failure.
“We have a lot of sand penetrating the wall,” Hosler said. “We have a lot of issues down at the marina. So we are trying to address all of them but we also have the financial side, it takes a lot of money.”
Hosler told News 4 that repair crews are working on a number of docks which could be fixed soon and installed shortly.
Meanwhile Western New York’s Congressional delegation and FEMA are providing more than $5 million for a number of upgrades to the marina.
With the harbor closed, towboat captain Dick Spoth has to dock his safety towboat in either Buffalo or Dunkirk.
“If I would have had to go out and save somebody or get somebody off their boat that was sinking or taking on water, yes, it would have made a big difference,” Spoth said.
Protesters say Sturgeon Point Marina is an economic engine – a destination that generates income and taxes – but with no docks, gas, or amenities they are going elsewhere like Sunset Bay.
“It is a joy that we always enjoyed coming down here, said San Cureo, a jet skier from Springville. “It is a special place – my father grew up around here so it is a special place to him. It is the place that we grew up coming to because this is the place we know as home.”
The citizen activists might be making a difference in the status of the marina.
It seemed town officials might have been resigned to only allowing boaters to use the launch this summer, but the town supervisor told us they might be able to bring in a number of boats slips, after needed repairs.