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Fort Erie mayor says Peace Bridge is understaffed

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The mayor of Fort Erie, Ontario is pushing for his end of the Peace Bridge to help move traffic. Wayne Redekop is back in Town Hall, eight years after leaving office as mayor and returning to his law practice. While in the top job from 1997 to 2006, he was entangled in the long struggle over expansion of the bridge and making traffic move more smoothly while the debate continues.

Under pressure from Rep. Brian Higgins and Sen. Charles Schumer, the U.S. has increased bridge staffing while Canadian staffing hasn't changed much. Redekop says this is a problem when there is an event which brings a spike in traffic, like a Sabres or Bills game.

"There are more people that are traveling within a confined period of time. I'm definitely familiar with those problems. Of course, with the sporting events, the theater events, some of the major activities that take place in Buffalo, there are a lot of Canadians that are traveling over to your side of the river and coming home afterwards. It can be a time-consuming and frustrating experience," said Redekop.

Besides attending those games, Redekop is also board chair at D'Youville College which brings him across the border quite frequently. He says he is well aware of the difficulties and isn't sure Canadian officials in  Ottawa who control bridge staffing are as aware.

Redekop says he is calling a meeting for just after the holidays and hopes the local member of the Canadian Parliament, Defense Minister Rob Nicholson, will show up to hear the problems of short-staffing by the Canadian Border Services Agency.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.