Plan to clear Erie Canal trees, plants suspended pending public meetings

The Erie Canal / file photo

Pittsford, N.Y. – The New York State Canal Corporation says it will delay plans to cut down trees and other natural growth along sections of the Erie Canal until it has heard from concerned members of the public.

The corporation’s vegetation management plan had called for the removal of vegetation to help strengthen canal embankments in parts of Monroe and Orleans Counties.

The program drew controversy, and at a public meeting Monday, Pittsford Town Supervisor Bill Smith announced the corporation had delayed plans to remove vegetation in the area of Pittsford, Perinton and Brighton until February 2018 so that they could publicly address the reasons for the program.

“(The corporation’s) representative expressed a willingness to talk about compromise in what they want to do, so that if we cannot persuade them to drop the plan altogether, if they proceed to with this policy, they are open to the idea of doing it in a less radical manner than what is being proposed now,” said Smith.

The three town supervisors in attendance, representing Perinton, Pittsford and Brighton, and several members of the public expressed concerns about the corporation’s proposal, including Elaine Lennox of Henrietta.

“We’re upset. This is a beautiful, natural resource. There has been no environmental review, it’s been disregarded. They’re cutting hundreds of acres,” said Lennox.

In a statement released Monday, Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo also implored the corporation to halt proceedings, given the amount of public outcry to it.

Dates have not yet been set for the upcoming public meetings.

Dinolfo said Tuesday she is calling for the process to be suspended until late 2018.

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