Use of reservoir a hot topic at Gowanda meeting

OBSERVER Photo by J.M. Lesinski Gowanda Disaster Coordinator Nick Crassi, pictured, brought his concerns over the village’s reservoir to the board meeting last Tuesday.

GOWANDA — Saint Teresa of Avila once said, “The tree that is beside the running water is fresher and gives more fruit.” Given the luscious green grass and trees blooming in the village as summer begins, it is hard to believe that water remains an issue in Gowanda.

Disaster Coordinator Nick Crassi brought to the attention of the board the ongoing issue with the village reservoir at the latest board meeting, and proposed a call to action on it. “I think very shortly the board is going to have to address a serious letter stating that we want some action taken immediately,” Crassi said of the reservoir. “It’s been six years without the reservoir, that’s a bit too long.”

Flooding back in 2014 decimated the village’s reservoir, prompting the village to switch sources. “I realize we went through mitigation and some major changes and obstacles,” Crassi noted. “But there comes a time we have to say stop.”

Crassi went on to say, “We want some sort of direct answer to stop the problem of the reservoir. They have all the paperwork, they have everything, I check with Mark Burr quite regularly, he’s answered and addressed all questions that need to be addressed properly.”

Access to water remains a constant concern across the country, but for a village the size of Gowanda, Crassi believes the situation simply shouldn’t have gone on as long as it has. “A community like this shouldn’t be without water in our own reservoir,” he said. “There is no need for this, and we’re probably going to have to stir some (expletive) up, in order to get some action.”

Following Crassi’s suggestion for a letter, Mayor Dave Smith motioned to have Village Attorney Deb Chadsey and Crassi co-author a letter to address the issue as soon as possible.

Crassi expressed gratitude for the rapid progress, but noted the one challenge ever-present in the bureaucratic system moving forward. “They keep changing, people change jobs so you’re not always talking to the same person,” he commented.

“It’s a never-ending cycle, and we were with one person for quite a long time with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).”

In other news from the meeting, Smith called to attention and gave brief words of thanks to retiring highway department mechanic Bob Willet, before accepting his letter of resignation. “Bob Willet has served the village as a mechanic, really working in all three departments at various times, for the last 24 years,” he stated. “We thank him for his professionalism and assistance for those last 24 years.”

Deputy Mayor Carol Shiebley also gave some parting words of praise to Willet during her comments. “I was on the board when Bob Willet was hired in the mid-nineties and I would just like to say that over the years, I have admired Bob for his dedication and respect not only for the people in the community, but for his job and his quiet demeanor. Thank you Bob.”

In addition, the date for the July Gowanda Village Board meeting has been moved. The meeting will now take place July 16 at 6 p.m., instead of July 9, at the village hall as usual.