(Niagara Falls, NY) Plans to keep the Maid of the Mist boats operating from the American side of the border are now being questioned by New York State Parks.
Earlier this year, it was announced that the Canadian tour boat operations would be taken over in 2014 by Hornblower Cruises and Events.
The takeover means that the Maid of the Mist would lose docking and storage space that they lease monthly in Canada.
President of the Maid of the Mist, Christopher Glynn, said the company wanted to build new dry-docks on the New York State side of the gorge just north of the Rainbow Bridge.
But the plan is being called not a "viable alternate" by New York State Parks.
"The land that the Maid of the Mist is looking at to build these dry docks is environmentally sensitive, and there are a lot of geological issues there," says NYS Parks Spokesperson Angela Berti.
"It would certainly take more than two years to accomplish all the studies that need to be done."
Another problem involves the legal terms of the contract with the Maid of the Mist. The current 40-year no-bid contract was based on the fact that the boats had access to docks on the Canadian side of the border.
"Anything that would require new building, or plans, would require us to re-bid the contract. So, that opens another can of worms," adds Berti.
A spokesperson for the Maid of the Mist tells Eyewitness News that all options are still on the table and they plan to continue pursuing plans to build new dry docks on the American side of the gorge.