Companies of all sectors in downtown Fredericton have been feeling the financial impacts of extensive construction projects. On Victoria Street a new roundabout has closed roads and sidewalks since spring.
“Walk in traffic business has depleted by 50 per cent. Of that 50 per cent walk in traffic we’ve probably lost 33 – 36 per cent in business revenue,” said Mark Howe, the general manager of Flooring Tommy’s.
“Infrastructure is so bad that and it’s so old that it has to be done,” Bruce McCormack, the Downtown Fredericton Inc. general manager.
To provide practical information in a timely fashion to businesses and property owners regarding infrastructure upgrades the city and Downtown Fredericton Incorporated will now update business owners four times a year with the no-surprises construction plan.
“It will help if there is input, if we make suggestions and they are implemented,” said Howe.
The city will check in with local companies in the fall before the capital budget is confirmed. This will be the latest information regarding when current construction will be completed.
In December post-budget, the city will give timelines and preview projects happening next year. In March before construction begins the city will issue detailed maps and specific start dates and timelines.
Also, in June when the projects start they will check in to make sure detour signage is sufficient and businesses can make requests to the city.
“It’s a proactive attempt to try and get information out to different businesses so that they can make decisions on their future year planning and how they staff up, how they do their work,” said Sean Lee, the assistant director of engineering and operations for the city.
The city has much of the construction in downtown planned out for the next decade, so business will have to deal with it again starting as soon as next year.
“We’re looking next summer at redoing Regent Street from Queen to King, including the intersection, now they are saying OMG not again,” said McCormack.
Howe says he hopes the new system will have a positive outcome and says the losses don’t just affect the owners’ pockets.
“This sustains seven employees so it’s very important for us to increase our business not decrease our business,” said Howe.