Retaining wall at Olcott Yacht Club collapses

OLCOTT, N.Y. (WIVB)- The steel retaining wall at the Olcott Yacht Club collapsed around 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

Niagara County Chief Information Officer, Christian Peck says this is most likely the result of springtime flooding due to elevated lake levels. Peck says the collapse has caused “widespread destabilization of the land adjacent to the main building”. The Yacht Club is located at 1535 Van Buren.

Town officials are asking for state and federal help after a retaining wall collapsed in Olcott. Now it’s putting surrounding businesses in danger.

“Unbelievable, in all the years, I’ve been a member here since 1972, I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Gary Coppola, a member of the Olcott Yacht Club.

Gary Coppola came to the Olcott Yacht Club late Saturday to see the damage caused by the retaining wall the collapsed around 1:30 a.m. Saturday. He says it was built just about 3 years ago to help protect the club.

“We’re not sure what we’re going to do,” said Coppola.

He says the wall crumbled because of the high lake levels. The sidewalk that was once there, is now gone with nothing but rocks and debris left behind.

Now yacht club members are worried about erosion and how the club itself is now left vulnerable.

“The building, we’ve had to run pumps for months at a time when the water was much higher. Now we’re concerned that we may lose this pavilion,” said Coppola.

According to the Town of Newfane supervisor, Tim Horanburg, the retaining wall is just the latest concern for the area.

“We need to find protection for this harbor,” said Horanburg.

He says the Olcott area still hasn’t recovered from flood and heavy rains earlier this year, as sandbags still sit along businesses and homes.

“It’s been a rough year for us. Ever since April when the water started going up and it’s been higher than normal,” said Horanburg.

Horanburg says this is just another blow and an expensive one to try to fix. That’s why he hopes county legislators can help before it’s too late.

“We’ve had some good conversations with Governor Cuomo’s team and the DEC and it looks as though they’re standing ready to help facilitate anything that they can do,” said county legislator John Syracuse, R- Newfane.

Club members say their planning committee is meeting to see what can be done to fix the wall. It cost more than $100,000 to build originally and was paid for by the members. They’re not sure how much it’ll be to fix it…but estimate it could be well above 6 figures. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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