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April 6, 2013

Judge halts work on Maid of the Mist facility


Tonawanda News — Hornblower has been accused of trying to block the dock construction. Officials of the cruise company have denied that charge.

However, Hornblower has also filed a lawsuit that challenges the Maid of the Mist’s current tour agreement with the state.

Officials with the Maid of the Mist have said they need to move quickly to construct a new boat storage facility on the American side of the falls before the up-coming tourist season ends and Hornblower takes over its Canadian operations next year. 

The Maid of the Mist had previously stored its boats on the Canadian side of the falls during the winter.

In a statement issued late Friday afternoon, a spokesman for the Maid of the Mist also suggested that the company’s competitor was behind the coalition lawsuit.

“It is our strong belief that all permits were issued and procedures followed in accordance with applicable law,” the statement read. “This is just more of the same from Hornblower.”

Earlier this week, crews embarked on an effort to remove loose rocks, boulders and other potentially hazardous debris in the gorge near the Gorge Discovery Center in Niagara Falls State Park as part of what state parks officials and Maid of the Mist representatives characterized as a process regularly done to “protect those using the trails for recreational purposes” from being hit by falling debris.

The process was expected to take between four and six weeks to complete and is being financed by the Maid of the Mist Corp., which described the work as being part of the memorandum of understanding signed by the firm’s owner, James Glynn, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in December. The agreement authorized the Maid of the Mist to move forward with the construction of a new storage facility to allow the company to store its fleet at the Schoellkopf Power Station site on the American side. 

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