Niagara Gazette

Local News

April 11, 2013

Judge lifts ban on Maid of the Mist boat storage facility work, appeal contemplated

Niagara Gazette — Work to make way for new docking facilities on the American side of the Niagara Gorge for the Maid of the Mist Corp's two-ship fleet will continue, at least for now.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Catherine Nugent Panepinto on Thursday vacated a temporary restraining order put in place after a recently-formed environmental and preservation group, the Niagara Preservation Coalition, filed a lawsuit against Maid of the Mist. 

The lawsuit claimed the Maid's plans to build a new boat storage facility on the site of the old Schoelkopf power station in the Niagara Gorge should not go forward for a number of reasons, including environmental concerns, a lack of respect for the historical significance of the property and a lack of fairness in the no-bid nature of the Maid's 40-year contract it signed with the state in 2002.

In court Thursday, Panepinto said she appreciated the coalition's stance and considered concerns raised in the lawsuit reasonable, but ruled that the Niagara Preservation Coalition and its attorney, Linda R. Shaw, did not supply sufficient evidence to keep the restraining order in place.

"There were no affidavits from very specific individuals who say that they suffered specific injuries like not being able to look at a historic resource," Panepinto said. "I appreciate that that might be the case, but I don't think there's been specific proof submitted at this point to establish that."

Attorneys representing Maid of the Mist Corp. and the New York Power Authority - the entity that owns the site - argued that the preservation group was trying to kill the project by delaying it long enough to ensure it could not be completed in time for the company to have its new docking equipment and storage facilities in place before winter.

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