September 03, 2019 11:11 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – Even as the waves crash in on their backyard break wall on the shore of Lake Ontario, Greece homeowners Wayne Knox and Victoria Visiko cannot help but be positive.
After all, Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich is beginning his time on the International Joint Commission's Lake Ontario Saint Lawrence River Board.
Knox says he’s hoping this is the beginning of something new.
It's a position which Reilich says represents several communities and counties impacted by flooding and other lake-level issues. Most of those issues, neighbors say, are the IJC’s fault.
"I’ve tried to stay up on this [the] best I can, it's going to be a learning experience," Reilich says.
It’s an experience both Knox and Visiko say they are confident Reilich can handle.
“He really understands us, he's been here, he's been right here with us," Knox says.
Reilich says this is a first step to change, as he says it brings a new voice to a board which did not have it before.
"Certainly shipping was there, hydropower was there, and environmentalists were there, but the residents and municipalities didn't have a seat at the table," Reilich says.
With that seat, Reilich says he's making it his mission to either get rid of or at least change the IJC’s controversial lake-level plan, Plan 2014.
Knox and Visiko agree the plan has failed, but they say taking it down will take a long time. They think Reilich should first focus on reducing what they call so-called lake level “trigger points”, such as the high levels that continue to threaten homes and force open cracks in their break walls
“Let's look at the damage, let's see how the damage would be reduced if we just set those trigger points lower," Knox says.
Reilich says he knows it won't be easy. He'll be working with several other people at the table but says he will continue to fight.
"You express your opinions, you give your reasons, and hopefully it can convince others to understand what you're going through," Reilich says.
Neighbors like Knox and Visiko say they will be watching.
"He's fighting for us, and we need him."
Reilich says this new position will not impact his current position as supervisor.
Updated: September 03, 2019 11:11 PM
Created: September 03, 2019 10:41 PM
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