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Hope in sight for businesses hurt by high lake levels

May 18, 2017 05:44 PM

The water level of Lake Ontario is the highest it has been since 1918. But, now the Saint Lawrence River Board is maximizing the outflows from Lake Ontario to provide all possible relief to those living along the shorelines.

Further increases to outflows should be possible in the coming days and weeks. Meanwhile, businesses and homeowners along the shoreline continue to suffer because of the high water levels.

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Marinas usually start to get busy this time of the year, but the rising waters are keeping many of the boats on land.

Workers at Ernst’s Lake Breeze Marina in Kent have raised the docks by more than two feet to keep business afloat.

The owner, Gatlen Ernst, says they should be earning money not spending it on raising his docks. “We haven’t been able to put as many boats as we should have in the moment just because people don't have docks available.”

The rising waters are creating a crippling effect on his business. “Our gas sales are down. The mechanics are slow right now just because -- generally in the spring you're doing oil changes, maintenance, just general maintenance. And because the boats aren't in the water, people aren't even thinking about their boats at this point.”

People are also struggling to protect their homes. Mary Pilat lives near the lake in Kendall. “The land underneath the rocks is being washed away and there is nothing you can do. You think that rocks are so strong and that they can hold that back but I just get amazed by the power of the water.”

State experts were on hand in Orleans County Thursday to help anyone with insurance questions about lakeshore flooding.

Although those along the lakeshore appreciate these efforts, they can't help but fear the worst.

“It could shut you down, definitely. You still got bills to pay every month even though the income might not be coming in,” says Ernst.

People that live or work along Lake Ontario are hoping to get financial help from the government before it's too late.

Credits

Nina Porciuncula

Copyright 2017 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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