April 20, 2017 8:44 am
Updated: April 20, 2017 8:45 am

London city council endorses pitch to help businesses impacted by BRT

City councillors and local MPPs discuss bus rapid transit, high speed rail and affordable housing at City Hall on April 19, 2017.

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A push by London’s city council to consider more ways to help businesses hurt by the future rapid transit construction is being received positively.

Down Shift, a local group that has been very critical of some proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) routes, says a proposal by city council on Tuesday is encouraging, even if more information is needed.

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READ MORE: London council wants more information from staff ahead of next rapid transit public meeting

Coun. Stephen Turner put forward a motion Tuesday to have city staff look at ways to help businesses that would be impacted by BRT construction and to consider having rapid transit buses run in mixed traffic along part of King Street.

“A few short days ago, he more or less said any of our concerns weren’t all that important, so I take it he’s had a change of heart,” said Down Shift spokesperson Dan McDonald.

“That’s a positive thing, and anytime someone is willing to put a positive leg forward and put forward solutions, that’s good for us.”

Although McDonald said a plan to make a special grant for businesses available is a good idea, it’s not a new one.

“These folks don’t want to carry more debt during this and they certainly don’t want to incur long-term debt,” he said. “So, the devil’s in the detail, I guess we’ll have to see exactly what it was and then every merchant will have to see if that is feasible for them.”

READ MORE: BRT wheels in motion with $8M federal funding announcement

London’s rapid transit plan would cost $560 million, with $130 million coming from the city.

Councillors met with MPs and MPPs Wednesday at city hall, all of whom assured council money will be available for rapid transit, once the city works out its transit plan issues.

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