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Jan. 18, 2020 | Saturday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter to the editor: Why are tour buses allowed to rumble through Queenston?
A jetboat is launched into the Niagara River at the Queenston docks. (Richard Harley/File Photo)


Dear editor:

The jet boat tour buses and other large buses are out in full force, once again, travelling through Queenston every 15 to 20 minutes. Although I do not reside in the village, I have witnessed the large, diesel-spewing buses going back and forth.

It is an odd site as the buses look like out-of-scale, wobbling behemoths navigating a path directly through a patch of residences on both sides of a street that is barely two lanes wide.

I am surprised and somewhat dumbfounded that these buses are permitted to drive through a historically significant piece of real estate that is so noteworthy in this country’s history.

Large tour buses park (for a fee) outside the Old Town in designated lots where tourists have to walk to the shops and restaurants on Queens Parade and elsewhere; other than the sheer volume of the tour buses, it appears to be a fairly civil process.

The touring experience also appears civil for those visitors who try the Whirlpool Aero Car, the zipline in Niagara Falls and the Horn Blower cruise. All of the above, minus the jet boat tour business, operate in a commercial area where there appears to be adequate parking and facilities to accommodate tourists.

Queenston does not have such luxuries in regards to infrastructure or space, nor does it benefit, at all, from any tourist dollars generated directly from those who have come to enjoy the jet boat experience.

The gravel road down to the river in Queenston is dangerous. I have seen many buses navigate the turn. I have also observed residents scrambling when walking their dogs, trying to get out of the way of a bus that is coming straight for them (it really does feel like that).

 There is little to no room remaining on either side of the gravel road when the buses are descending; no safe area exists for pedestrians on this stretch when the buses occupy this gravel path before reaching the river. Also, I am not sure who or what party is responsible for maintaining this gravel road but they are evidently not concerned about the condition of it.

Although I have not been privy to any private conversations or meetings about this issue between the jet boat company and the residents, I am quite surprised that the town has permitted the jet boat operators to continue to carry on business in this manner. I am surprised the town even allows any tour buses to go through this part of Queenston.

Corporate responsibility is a big deal these days, as it should be.

How is the jet boat tours business being held responsible for noise, pollution issues and probable degradation of the streets that they travel on so frequently in this tiny village? Do any of the people who own the jet boat tours company live in Queenston or do they live elsewhere, where there are no tour buses travelling in front of their driveways and patios every 15 to 20 minutes, every day?

I don’t think anyone wants to see a local business suffer, but the residents don’t deserve to suffer either.

In regards to “wins” and economic benefits, it appears to be jet boat/tour buses “home run,”  local Queenston residents “you’re out”!

Carolyn Bernacci