Building of wetlands overlook in the works

By David Bertola

Earlier this month National Grid officials were interviewed by West Seneca Sun reporter Lian Bunny for an article about a wildlife viewing platform deck that the company is planning to build. The platform will be located above wetlands near our Gardenville substation. Ms. Bunny’s article, which was published on Aug. 6, is here:

The Town of West Seneca will be getting a new viewing platform on Indian Church Road overlooking wetlands.

The platform was part of National Grid’s wetland mitigation work for its $116 million project, which started in 2015, involving two of its stations in town, according to company officials.

And although the state later informed National Grid officials that they didn’t have to do the platform work, they had already told the town they’d do the overlook and stuck by their word.

“We said, ‘We already committed to doing it, so we’re doing it,” project manager Tom Brim said.

The platform proposal still needed, as of publication date, the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s approval, which Brim said National Grid hopes to have this month. Once construction begins, he estimated work could be completed in four to six weeks and would conclude by mid-to-late October.

The overlook, which will be located at 885 Indian Church Road, will be 16 feet by 24 feet and will have a nearby parking area. Work includes cleaning up the parking area, installing new gates on the right of way and constructing the platform. Brim estimated it’d cost around $70,000.

A local group of people who birdwatch had been pushing for a viewing overlook there because those wetlands field many birds, he added.

“It’s a really great interest in the spring and fall, because it’s a resting spot and a feeding and breeding place for migratory birds, so we’re really excited for that,” town Environmental Commission Chair Evelyn Hicks said at a meeting last month.

The viewing platform will be built near our Gardenville station.

 

For its $116 million project, National Grid rebuilt its Gardenville station, which is near where the viewing platform will go. The work also includes replacing transformer bases at its new Gardenville station, which is located near the now former Gardenville station.

Brim said that work will continue this fall and next spring.

Before getting rebuilt, the Gardenville station was about 80 years old, according to Ken Kujawa, regional director. And while National Grid’s infrastructure is designed to last a long time and receives maintenance work on a regular basis, that station was getting to the point where it needed to be replaced, he said.

This project is probably the largest capital investment National Grid has taken on in Western New York in a long time, he added. Roughly one-third of National Grid’s electricity consumed in Western New York flows through the Gardenville station.