By Zach Grady, Channel 7 on September 29, 2022
TOWN OF ORLEANS, New York (WWNY) – Reinforcements arrive in the battle over Blind Bay as local and federal officials speak out against Customs and Border Protection’s continued effort to build a new station there.
“There are environmental concerns in the area that they are looking at. Obviously, we don’t have any environmental concerns here. We have roads. We have water and sewer infrastructure. We have everything that is already right here,” said town of Alexandria Supervisor Brent Sweet.
Despite public comments, letters, petitions, and a proposed alternate site at the old Bonnie Castle Recreation Center, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is still looking at Blind Bay for a new facility.
Sweet, the Thousand Islands Land Trust and Save the River are now hoping support from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will help their cause.
A spokesperson from Schumer’s office said, “Senator Schumer supports the CBP mission and has long believed that a new facility is needed, but the current plan would put the environment and quality of life too much at risk.”
Sweet says that the town has made attempts to answer any questions that Customs and Border Protection may have about the proposed Bonnie Castle site. However, it is the lack of communication on CBP’s part that has town officials frustrated.
“We’d liked to have more communication with these agencies about this proposal. We have a tremendous amount of stakeholders, taxpayers that are very, very much in favor of this proposal,” said Sweet.
Sweet says that a Zoom conference call is scheduled between the town and CBP.
“We’re looking to answer any questions they have. Help prove to them that this site is adequate for what their needs are,” he said.
We reached out to CBP for comment. It said, “As a matter of policy, CBP does not comment on elected officials’ remarks or statements.”