Last month’s Amherst and Clarence bear sightings drew a great deal of attention from both the media and the community. With black bear sightings on the rise throughout our region, it’s important to prepare and educate ourselves on how to properly handle situations in which we are confronted with bears and other types of rarely-encountered wildlife. Because of the overwhelming interest in this topic and the many people who have contacted my office, I teamed up with the DEC (Department of Environment and Conservation) to hold an educational seminar on “living with wildlife.”
At the event, we were able to have an informative discussion on how to properly deal with different types of wildlife. The DEC gave a brief presentation providing tips and suggestions on how to handle wildlife encounters, especially black bears. Per the DEC’s recommendation, it is critical to emphasize that feeding bears creates human-bear conflicts and causes public safety concern. In a situation like the one in Amherst, residents must know they should avoid leaving food out to attract bears. When bears learn to obtain food from humans, they can become bold and aggressive. As these sightings become more frequent in urban areas, these tips are important. I’d like to thank all who attended the event, including the SPCA of Erie County, law enforcement representatives and members of the community. For more information, visit the DEC’s website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals.
On another note, we can look forward to additional road and infrastructure work throughout the district in the coming months. I’m pleased to announce the Legislature approved a number of projects, including authorization for the county to execute an agreement with the New York State Department of Transportation for engineering design phases applied to pedestrian safety improvements in the Town of Clarence. We also approved funding to continue reconstruction of Goodrich Road in the Town of Clarence and replacement of the Cedar Street Bridge over Ledge Creek in the Town of Newstead. I’m glad to see these projects progress, but there’s always more work to be done. I will continue my advocacy for road repairs and improvement projects beyond the first-ring suburbs.
Recently Erie County transferred Garrison Road ownership to the Village of Williamsville. I am pleased to see this example of a local road take over by a municipality. There are numerous “non-arterial” roads in my district which are County owned. My office has been advocating for a reasonable dialogue on county take-over of these roads for years. It’s a win –win for everyone involved in that the public has the benefit of a new road, the villages and towns control a smaller road within its boundaries and the county lessens its oversight on community roads. Examples that mirror Garrison Road are: Johns Street and Bloomingdale Road in Akron; East Ave in Akron; Conner Road in Clarence and Casey Road in Amherst. It is my hope that we can re-start these road transfer negotiations. There are numerous concerns that all parties have in these road transfer discussions – but I firmly believe that reasonable minds can create agreeable solutions. Therefore, it is my hope that the county will take action to work with local officials and come back to the table in these negotiations.