Who We Are

The Batchellerville Bridge Action Committee (BBAC), created in 2001, draws its membership from the 4,650 property owners who hold access permits to Great Sacandaga Lake. The permits are issued by the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District, the state authority that controls this 29-mile-long river-regulating reservoir.

The BBAC works to preserve the beauty of this beautiful body of water for the enjoyment of future generations. This has led to confrontations with the Regulating District (which has a long history of scandal and incompetence), various state agencies, and special interest groups.

The BBAC is headed by Peter (Pete) VanAvery, seasonal resident of the Town of Edinburg since 1951. He and Maryann Haskell, seasonal Edinburg resident since 1998, co-founded the watchdog group.

The BBAC's influence reflects the reality that Great Sacandaga's property owners, when united, represent a powerful force. In summer, seasonal property owners triple or quadruple the populations of lake-area towns and villages. Expenditures and taxes paid by all property owners, seasonal and permanent, power the local economy, supporting stores, marinas, and restaurants, as well as carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and other tradespeople.

The BBAC was created after the New York State Department of Transportation announced plans to replace the aging 3,000-foot-long Batchellerville Bridge at Edinburg. DOT proposed to replace the existing bridge, which is flat and low, with a high arch-like structure that would allow tall sailboats to pass underneath.

The BBAC had no objection to an arched bridge -- up to a point. But while asking stakeholders to comment on alternative designs with vertical clearances underneath ranging from 35 feet to 55 feet, DOT obviously favored the latter. With an eight-foot-thick deck above the vertical clearance, the highest design would elevate County Highway 98 up to the tips of the lampposts on the existing bridge.

The resulting concrete and steel eyesore, which would destroy the lake's vista, was unacceptable to the BBAC. In addition, many drivers questioned the safety of an arched bridge. They already had horror stories to tell about crossing the existing bridge in icy, windy conditions.

The BBAC rallied the lake's property owners to protest, and in 2002 the DOT announced a compromise design, an arched bridge with a 42-foot vertical clearance that would allow most of the lake's sailboats to pass underneath. Funding for the project did not become available until October 2006. At that point, DOT pulled a double cross, announcing that it was going to reopen the debate over the design of the bridge. A public hearing will be held in April 2007 on a date to be announced. The BBAC has returned to the battle.

Meanwhile, the BBAC has extended its advocacy to other issues impacting quality of life and property values:

BBAC members are kept abreast of what's happening around the lake through the BBAC Newsletter. In 2006, 22 issues were distributed to members. A subscription comes with BBAC membership, which carries no charge. How do you join? It's easy. Start by clicking here.