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Reilich pushes for more flood relief

Andrew Hyman
Updated: January 11, 2020 11:39 PM
Created: January 11, 2020 11:36 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – A local leader is pushing for more flood relief for people living along Lake Ontario.

Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich, now a board member of the International Joint Commission, which governs the lake levels, says there is more work to do.

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On Dec. 30, the IJC announced Lake Ontario had more outflow in 2019 than ever before. Reilich, who was appointed to the IJC in September, says progress has been made since he took the position.

“We've been pushing to let as much water out as much as we can, as long as we can," Reilich said.

Neighbors like Henry S. Stewart are taking notice.

"We appreciate the various divergent interests," Stewart said.

Stewart also serves as President of the Lake Ontario South Shore Council. He, like many residents, dealt with record-high lake levels that were amplified by severe flooding in both 2017 and 2019.

Though IJC data shows the water levels have dropped with the higher outflow, Reilich and Stewart say the levels are still too high. 

So Reilich has taken his fight from the IJC board to the state capital. He's calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to delay the lake shipping season in order to keep those water levels down for now. 

"We've gotta fight for the residents along the Lakeshore, we gotta try and do all we can to prevent flooding," Reilich said.

Even with separate pushes against the IJC from Governor Cuomo and neighbors, Reilich says nothing will be accomplished overnight. Though Stewart says having someone like Reilich in their corner could help the cause.

"I certainly hope so, I certainly hope that things are going to be drastically different," Stewart said.

"Will it guarantee there's no flooding? No, but it is going to guarantee it is going to be less of an impact," Reilich said.

In the spring, Reilich says the Town of Greece will be installing a new sewer system as part of the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI) funding handed down by the state.


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