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NORTH TONAWANDA – The North Tonawanda Common Council approved a lease agreement on Tuesday that will allow Niagara River Cruises Inc. to continue to lease 50 feet of dock space adjacent to 184 Sweeney St. for its 42-foot vessel.

The boat docks in the City of North Tonawanda and travels along the Erie Canal and Niagara River to stops in Grand Island and Niagara Falls.

Captains and co-owners Robin Hoch and Thomas Hauser began offering the water shuttle service with specialty cruises for the first time last summer.

Mayor Robert G. Ortt said prior to the meeting that Council members had met with Hoch and Hauser and said their business fit in well with North Tonawanda.

“Anytime you have a business, especially a business whose sole objective is to bring people into the city – it’s literally why they exist – it’s something we want to encourage,” Ortt said.

He noted that there were some concerns prior to their opening last summer that the commercial operation would disrupt recreational boating in the harbor, but Ortt said that had not been a problem.

“And they are bringing more people into the area restaurants, and that’s the point of the Gateway Harbor,” said Ortt of the downtown area along the Erie Canal.

Hoch said their cruises shuttle in the Erie Canal and Niagara River between North Tonawanda, the Four Points Sheraton in Niagara Falls and Byblos Niagara Resort and Spa, the former Holiday Inn, on Grand Island.

email: nfischer@buffnews.com