Edmonton business says traffic closures mean Grey Cup Festival isn’t a touchdown for all

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WATCH: The Grey Cup Festival is taking over a section of downtown Edmonton. But one business owner says the road closures are negatively impacting the bottom line. Quinn Ohler reports – Nov 19, 2018

An Edmonton cafe is concerned two weeks’ worth of road closures on Jasper Avenue for the Grey Cup Festival will negatively impact business.

Nook Cafe is located just steps away from the festival site.

“As (the festival) started to lay out the road closures, we knew it would greatly impact our business,” co-owner of the cafe, Lynsae Moon, told Global News Monday morning. “Parking is already an issue.”

READ MORE:Road closures begin Wednesday ahead of Grey Cup Festival in Edmonton

Moon said she’s already seen a 20 per cent decrease in sales since Jasper Avenue was closed off between 96 and 99 streets last Monday.

“You would normally be able to zip in and access us one block off of Jasper Avenue,” said Moon. “You now have to go several blocks east or west, then you’ll have to travel a number of blocks north before coming around.”

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Moon said a number of deliveries have been delayed because of the issues and some people have cancelled events at Nook Cafe once they’ve heard about the closures and parking issues.

“We see a lot of income generated from people renting the space after hours,” said Moon. “That’s a big hit for a business that’s only a year-and-a-half old.”

Moon believes local businesses weren’t as involved in the planning process as much as she would have liked, and although foot traffic may be up during the festival itself, she’s concerned it won’t make up for the two weeks of road closures and traffic disruptions.

READ MORE: 5 days of festivities planned for 2018 Grey Cup in Edmonton

The Grey Cup Festival said it’s hoping that once the festival begins, people will spill out into local businesses.

“We are hoping to pump out $80-$100 million in economic activity,” said Duane Vienneau, Grey Cup Festival executive director.

“Normally, those businesses that are very close to what you’re building have the biggest benefit.”

The City of Edmonton said its staff have also been working with the Grey Cup Festival to ensure the impacts on the community surrounding the event are mostly positive.

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The celebrations will kick off in Edmonton on Wednesday, Nov. 21 and run until Grey Cup Sunday on Nov. 25.

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