Schumer: Lights on the Summerville Pier is a "no brainer"

Updated: 08/04/2014 8:03 PM
Created: 08/04/2014 5:21 PM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean

If we had a solution that could save lives, even if it cost taxpayer money, we should do it, right?

We're talking about this because we've already had two boats crash into the Summerville Pier in Lake Ontario this season.

The pier has only one light.

Senator Chuck Schumer says adding lights to the pier is a "no brainer."

But what if the problem is irresponsible boat drivers? Aren't we just paying to cover for them? 

Sen. Schumer called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard to add lights to the pier. 

"So we're here to say enough is enough," Sen. Schumer said. "The solution is not expensive. It can save lives."

The Summerville Pier runs parallel with the Charlotte Pier. Twice this season, boats crashed into the Summerville Pier and the people on board got hurt. 

In the past, people have died. 

Here's the deal: the pier has only one light at the very end. It's lower than the Charlotte Pier and when the sun goes down, as Senator Schumer says, boaters call it an "optical illusion."

But we contacted the Army Corps of Engineers. In a statement it says, "Public safety-especially water-related safety, is a priority for the Corps of Engineers. We are the Nation's second largest provider of outdoor recreation with 456 lakes in 43 states. We have conducted inspections of Rochester East Pier and have verified with the Coast Guard that the lighting of the pier, as a navigation structure, complies with applicable federal regulations."

Brean: Senator, the Army Corps of Engineers, I talked to them today, says this meets all federal requirements in terms of navigation safety. 

Sen. Schumer: And I would say to them the federal requirements aren't good enough because of the number of accidents we've had here. 

Amy Fields is a boater and puts this in perspective. 

"I've heard the argument that it's the operator of the vessel's responsibility," Fields said. "Well children and family members may be on that vessel and you can't put a price on ensuring safety for innocent people who may be aboard a vessel even if the operator is being irresponsible."

We got another statement from the Army Corps of Engineers late this afternoon saying, "the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard welcome Senator Schumer's comments and will work together in the future to mitigate risk to the boating public."

We asked Sen. Schumer how much the lights would cost. He couldn't pinpoint a number, but he half joked that it will be less expensive than most federal projects. 

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