August 15, 2007

Western Terminus...Is There a Dumber Issue?

OK, if I'm missing something on all this bickering over whether the Tonawandas or Buffalo should be the Western Terminus of the Erie Canal please tell me. Legislation is on the Governor's desk that would restore Buffalo as the Western Terminus. People in the Tonawandas are very upset about this. I just don't get why it matters. People claim it will impact tourism and hurt investment. How? Do people envision a conversation that goes like this:

"Geez honey, I say let's take the kids on a trip to the Tonawandas this year. Gateway Park is beautiful and the kids can learn some history about the Erie Canal. Oh, wait a minute. The Tonawandas aren't the Western Terminus, it's Buffalo. Well, let's go there instead."

C'mon now, this is foolish. Investing in the waterfront in North Tonawanda is great and worthwhile and the Western Terminus nonsense won't matter a lick.


Fed Up said...

I think this is a b.s. issue too to distract everyone's attention away from Mayor Soos' 7 percent tax increase. Great work Larry.

Scott Leffler said...

Of course it matters.

First of all, Buffalo will be designated money to promote itself as the Western Terminus instead of Tonawanda.

Secondly, the "official" standing will be printed in tourist guides and whathave you.

When you go on vacation, you trust the guide to send you to the right place right? Well, now people are going to go to Buffalo to see the last stop on the Erie Canal ... despite the fact that the canal ends in Tonawanda.

If you wanted to travel to the highest point in the contiguous states, wouldn't you be upset were sent to Humphreys Peak, Arizona (12,633 ft) instead of Mt. Whitney, California (14,494 ft)?

Might you just be protecting George's vote here?

Scott Leffler said...

A second thought - for those who say "well the canal USED to end in Buffalo ..."

Leesburg, VA was the capitol of the US for a while. Should it be officially designated by Congress as the Capitol now?

Mr. Pink said...


I disagree. Turns out this money thing was all a red herring. There are no specific designated pots of money.

But let's be honest, a person on that sort of historical vacataion is going to visit both Buffalo and Tonawanda...they're 10 minutes apart.

Your point about Vistor's Guides rings hollow. The NTCC which markets Niagara County will promote the canal in Tonawanda. The Buffalo CVB will do their thing.

More importantly, if the Greenway does what it is supposed to do, all of this should be linked into one massive trailway.

Pointless argument over pointless legislation by politicians on both sides of the issue who have no solutions to addressing real issues.

Sail Away said...


I couldn't care less about Senator Maziaz' vote on this. Read the Buffalo News editorial talking about the need for historic's equally moronic to people in Tonawanda being upset.

No one can point to one nickel of grant money that's tied to this designation. They keep talking in mysterious generalities.

And as Mr. Pink points out Tonawanda and Buffalo aren't Arizone and Washington...they're five miles away from each other.

Market jointly by promoting all the history along the canal and move on.

Scott Leffler said...


Do you deny that Lockport has gotten buckets full of money over the past five years becuase of their being on the canal? Former NT Mayor Dave Burgio says NTon has gotten loot as well.

I do think you're carrying George's bag on this one. You can deny it all you want.

It is interesting, Sail Away, that you say "Arizona and Washington." I was talking about Arizona and California. Maybe you were thinking Mt Ranier in Washington? Which is much more famous than Mt. Whitney, although 200 feet shorter ... proving the need for accuracy.

Mr. Pink said...


If Lockport is neither the Eastern nor Western Terminus of the Canal, but rather a just an historically significant location along the canal and yet has still reaped significant dollars, doesn't that prove the point that the terminus designation itself is irrelevant?

Scott Leffler said...


Can we assume that there are limited funds for canal promotion? And if there is an addition city receiving canal money, then doesn't that mean that all other cities will be getting less? That's my point.

But it still doesn't change the fact that if you take a ride on the Erie Canal, when you reach the Niagara River in Tonawanda, your ride is done. It really is that simple.

Anonymous said...

I don't give a rat's behind one way or the other about the issue, but Leffler said..."Maybe you were thinking Mt Ranier in Washington? Which is much more famous than Mt. Whitney, although 200 feet shorter ... proving the need for accuracy."

All that proves is that technical accuracy doesn't mean squat.

Mr. Pink said...


You've moved my positon on this, somewhat. If there is limited dedicated funds for the canal and now Buffalo is in the mix, that's a problem. But I don't know that to be the case.

For example, it's my understanding that the Flight of Five was pretty much earmark money delivered by Tom had nothing to do with a specific pot allocated to canal projects.

But if you're right, then I can understand the frustration.

Allow me to interject once again about how shoddy reporting has missed this most critical issue in the debate in favor of he-said, she-said back and forth nonsense.

Scott Leffler said...


I could be wrong that there are limited funds, but if not ... that's another problem altogether.

Once again, this blog lives up to it's motto.

Larry Castellani said...

The issue as to the terminus of the canal is more broadly about local control. If we for a moment entertain this broader issue, then possibly the question is how 'local' is local. On the one hand the region should be happy if it gets funds for canal projects. This is not to say that historical accuracy is unimportant given the precedent setting danger that such neglect may encourage. On the other hand, any region should remain as decentralized as possible. That is, if historically the terminus is in the tonawandas, then why should we presume that Buffalo has some right to such a designation. Why centalize everything in Buffalo? If the broader concern is the region, then the tonawandas can represent the region as much as Buffalo and certainly seems to have historical priority. If the real battle that's being fought is really over money, then we thereby shift the power to the federal bureaucracy which can now preside over our bickering and presume that this is more evidence that local communities cannot handle there own affairs. So yes, let's debate, but let's not lose sight of the always underlying issue of political power. Why be penny wise and pound foolish? Let's rethink the meaning and value of "local control and power."

Big Daddy said...


I like your perspective because if you read through the lines of everyone claiming some sort of historic accuracy as the reason for their pro-Buffalo or pro-Tonawanda point of view this really is about money.

That means we are really arguing over who is in a better position to secure federal dollars and history is irrelevant.

That prevents us from reaching a compromise that would call Buffalo the historic Western Terminus and the Tonawandas the current Western Terminus/Gateway to today's Erie Canal.

We cede history and local control to bureaucrats in the hope they will open their magic checkbook for us.

cg466 said...

Wow I mean Wow. A bunch of people trying to figure out where Clintons Ditch ends.This is why Westen NY is so screwed up. I am going to start drinking more,I dont feel as messed up as you folks are. Have a great time at the MENSA meeting.

Turk 182 said...


For once you and Sail Away are right on the same issue. Is there anything dumber than this debate?

Can't we split the different and make the Western Terminus at the foot of Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda?

Then everybody's a winner!!!!!!!!