Business owners in Fredericton’s downtown say sales are plummeting, and they blame it on years of construction and lack of on-street parking.
“My sales are down by almost 50 per cent over the last six years. It’s cost me my house. I had to sell it because I just couldn’t afford to keep it because my sales had dropped so much, I had to let my staff go,” said John Welling, the owner of Botinicals Gift Shop.
Nearby Fox’s Barbershop has also suffered a cut to its bottom line.
“Business has dropped off I would say in the area of probably 30 per cent since about last August,” said Bob DeLong, owner and operator of Fox’s Barbershop.
Over the last several years, the work has included renovations at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and the legislature. In addition to these refurbishments there was the construction of the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel and the Fredericton Convention Centre.
Business owners say the sidewalk and road closures slowed foot traffic.
“Just all of it combined and ongoing for the last eight years, people don’t want to deal with it when they come down,” says John Welling, the owner of Botinicals Gift Shop.
Bruce McCormack of Downtown Fredericton Inc. says converting Queen Street from a one-way to a two-way has resulted in the loss of some parking spaces.
“Those metered spaces now have been moved towards the hotel and the Convention Centre due to the fact the traffic has to turn left into Queen Street from Regent,” says McCormack
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The shop owners are now calling for the street to go back to a one-way and the city to replace the meters it removed.
In a statement, the city’s Manager of Transit and Parking says there is an ample number of parking options along the block of Queen Street in question.
“It’s really been a difficult time for them so we’re hoping that this summer things will go back to normal,” says McCormack
But DeLong says the end to construction has not brought business back to normal so far.