Medina approves boat cruise business based at Canal Basin

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 April 2023 at 12:50 pm

MEDINA – The Village Board gave its blessing for a new charter boat business that would offer cruises along the canal.

Brian Hellner of Newfane wants to give rides for up to six people on a 20-foot-long pontoon boat. Hellner said he has been a licensed charter captain the past 12 years and an avid boater the past 50 years. He also is a former vice president of the Buffalo Maritime Center.

He has been to Medina frequently to see his son, Rollin, who lives in Medina and is a real estate developer.

The elder Hellner said he sees an opportunity to grow tourism in the village through the canal cruises. He plans to call the business, North Star Charters. He would like to offer one-hour rides from Friday through Sunday beginning in early June and going into the fall.

An issue for the board is whether to set aside a dedicated dock space for Hellner, and how much to charge. Medina currently doesn’t charge for use of the docks.

Hellner said he could use one of the smaller finger docks which are less in demand. He doesn’t need access to electricity at the basin because he will have solar panels on the pontoon boat.

“I think it will be a great addition,” Village Trustee Marguerite Sherman said about the boat ride business.

Hellner said he plans to promote the rides through social media and have a sign on the boat. He won’t be putting other signs in the Basin to advertise the business.