North Shore Business Improvement Association manager Steven Puhallo is hearing just how torn merchants in his area are.
On the one hand, they’re excited to have the City putting in new, improved lighting and upgrade multi-use pathways through their neighbourhood.
On the other hand, they’re losing up to 70 per cent of their business because customers aren’t coming around due to traffic tie-ups.
Puhallo said Monday the construction is like a double whammy after some businesses were affected last year when the Overlander overpass was shut down after it was struck by a truck.
“They’re incredibly happy and I would even say joyous over the improvements. But they’re worried about the bottom line,” he said.
He’s asking residents to shop in their back yards.
“We’re trying to encourage North Shore residents to support North Shore businesses, check out the construction, visit the stores.”
If every North Shore resident made just one purchase daily in a neighbourhood store, it would make a big impact, Puhallo said.
The lighting upgrades aren’t as disruptive as the multi-use path and sidewalk upgrades, but many people are staying away to avoid getting caught in the construction delays altogether, he said.
Puhallo set up a phone conference with City officials and business owners on Friday so they could get the construction plan clarified.
The multi-use path is on track to be completed Oct. 18, while the lighting is behind slightly, with a finish date of Nov. 22.
“The biggest concern is when are we going to be done so we can get our businesses back up,” he said.
Puhallo said once the construction is done, he’ll be organizing a launch to celebrate and to let everyone know it’s business as usual.
City transportation planner Erin Felker said some business owners were worried that work seemed to be slowing down on the multi-use path area, which is causing most of the traffic delays.
Work did stall a bit, but it was just to get a Fortis permit. And that slowdown won’t affect the completion date, she added.
The deadline for the street light installation was extended due to a bunch of unexpected things discovered as the work was being started. Felker said it’s comparable to opening up a wall in an old house and finding a history of repairs and problems.