Public meeting on water district Tuesday

If you want to know more about what’s going on – and may go on – with the city of Dunkirk’s water system the opportunity will be there at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday in City Hall.

A public meeting will be held by Common Council to clarify issues of concern council members have about the proposed North County Water District.

Mayor Anthony J. Dolce was asked about the ongoing effort through the Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corporation to form a North County water district and if the city will be a partner.

“There are many of us who would like to see this project happen. We have our concerns. We’re not exactly sure what the plan is or how they plan to address the ownership of the plant, the ownership of the lines, we’re not 100 percent sure of all the numbers from the city’s end or other municipalities. So we do have a lot of outstanding questions that we hope are answered on July 30. I’m very vocalized in my feeling on the fact we should pay our dues for 2013 and we should support the county going after a consolidated funding application.

“I feel very strongly about that, there is no harm We even tweaked the resolution supporting the grant to make sure to be extra cautious and to make sure it didn’t commit us to anything going forward. Those are things that should have been done and hopefully, we do have another meeting coming up, in support of that. As our questions hopefully get worked out, our concerns hopefully get worked out, that could be done outside of the grant process.”

Dolce was asked if the city would be able to maintain its water supply agreement with Fredonia if the village is not part of a new water district that the Dunkirk treatment plant would need all its capacity to service.

“That’s one of the many outstanding questions that need to be addressed. There’s a lot out there that I know council and myself, we’re just not comfortable with without having more discussions, without working out those final details,” Dolce replied. “I’m willing to keep doing that, I think those are conversations we must keep having. If it works out that would be wonderful. We really need to just keep going with this, keep having the conversations, but in the meantime the grant should be worked on outside of that.”

Dolce was asked if he thought the state might step in at some point to force consolidation.

“I’ve learned in my 10-plus years in politics to never rule anything out. I think my administration has shown a commitment to regionalism. Again, it’s just one of those things that happens slowly over time.”

One project that has hit slowdown mode is the proposed water line from the city to Silver Creek.

“I think there was some mixup on the Erie County contract that Silver Creek is a part of and it’s everybody’s understanding that they’re still locked in for another seven years, so we have some time,” he explained. “It is something I’d like to see happen.”

One project that doesn’t have unlimited time for completion is the ongoing project to clean out and reline the main, 12-inch water line running west from the city’s water treatment plant. The above-ground, blue piping seen in the Lake Shore Drive area and its side streets and fields is temporarily carrying water to customers and is not freeze proof.

Dolce was asked about progress on the work.

“I think things are going pretty well there. We had some initial concerns about the piping that’s going across driveways and we understand it’s an inconvenience for the residents there, but I think most people are understanding that that’s the price of doing a great project,” he replied. “It’s a project that needed to be done and we’re fortunate enough to still have the money from Sen. Young’s office that will be paying for almost half of the project. So I’m very excited.”

One thing Dolce is not too excited about is the Chadwick Bay Marina project proposed by Jeff Gambino, one of the lease holders.

“Last we heard, I would say it was April, Mr. Gambino came in, he was very excited, raring to go, met with (Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer Al Zurawski) a lot,” Dolce stated. “I talked to him a couple times. He was hoping to get in front of the planning and zoning right away. That’s it.”

Dolce said some environmental cleanup work is being done by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“That’s ongoing, the cleanup part. The other part, bar-restaurant, is status unknown,” the mayor added.

Dolce was asked if there was language in the lease about a time frame.

“If you go back to the last council meeting in 2011 when there’s a big rush to get him going so he could start working on the docks, part of that was also so he could start his construction on the bar/restaurant. There’s some very vague language there that if this goes on for a certain amount, we could challenge it.”

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