A well-known downtown Halifax music venue is taking to crowdfunding to help it stay afloat as construction of the Nova Centre across the street decreases its customer base.
“I think that we need a bit of a cushion to make sure that we can get through this winter,” said Mike Campbell, owner of The Carleton Music Bar & Grill near the intersection of Argyle and Prince Streets.
Construction on the building has resulted in road closures, dozens of parking spots being removed, and a noisy, dirty environment.
He pegged the decrease of foot traffic at up to 30 per cent, which is mirrored the decrease in sales.
Campbell has since posted a plea on Patreon to raise enough monthly monetary commitments, $5,000 per month, to help the business stay afloat until the area returns to normal; at the time of this writing, $1,434.71 a month had been committed.
“Right now, too many places are just a few days of bad weather or a couple of street closures or something away from being in trouble,” he said.
More nearby businesses suffering
Lil MacPherson, co-owner of The Wooden Monkey, said her restaurant is suffering the same problem.
She said she is not just concerned for her bottom line but also her employees and the local producers she buys from.
“We have about 18 farms, so when we’re not busy, their production goes down, so the ripple effect, really, is what bothers us the most,” said MacPherson.
“If [the Halifax Regional Municipality] would have had a mitigation plan ahead of time, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
“I think there’s a recognition that we haven’t done a very good job as a municipality,” said Halifax South Downtown Councillor Waye Mason.
He said a staff report is being produced this month to look at how the municipality handles this kind of mitigation.
Several business owners have said the municipality should financially compensate them for their losses.
“With the Nova Centre, since it’s already done, you can’t transfer that cost to the developer, and the city can’t pay compensation because the charter actually keeps us from being allowed to give money to businesses in that way,” Mason said.
In the future, encroachment fees that developers pay could go to affected businesses, he added.