Work de­lays sway­ing votes

Coun­cil and can­di­dates talk shop with busi­ness own­ers Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 12, 2017

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - YOUR ESSENTIAL DAILY NEWS - Brodie thomas Metro | Cal­gary

Mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion can­di­dates courted busi­ness own­ers on 17 Av­enue Wed­nes­day as they raised con­cerns about the on­go­ing con­struc­tion de­lays.

Ernie Tsu, owner of Trol­ley 5 brew­pub, hosted the open house for other busi­ness own­ers.

He said the city has strayed from its orig­i­nal plan, which was to have two blocks at a time closed for re­pairs to util­i­ties, pave­ment and side­walks.

“We’re cur­rently at five-anda-half to six blocks of road clo­sure,” said Tsu.

He told the busi­ness own­ers the pace of work needs to be­come an elec­tion is­sue.

Travis Burke, owner of The Big Cheese Pou­tinerie, said the project has ab­so­lutely changed the way he plans to vote.

“Change is needed,” he said, adding that he still hasn’t de­cided which may­oral can­di­date will get his vote.

He did say he would like to see an en­tirely new coun­cil after next Mon­day.

One of the peo­ple gun­ning for his vote — Bill Smith — dropped by the meet­ing to shake a few hands and say a few words.

He told the busi­ness own­ers how he had once based his law prac­tice in Mount Royal Vil­lage, but when his lease came up and he got wind of the city’s plans to up­grade 17 Ave SW, he moved his prac­tice to Eau Claire.

“My un­der­stand­ing is that the city has not quite ful­filled the com­mit­ment they made to you guys in how the con­struc­tion would be sched­uled and how it would be con­ducted,” said Smith. “If I’m suc­cess­ful next week, we’ll make sure we get things back on track.”

Also present was Ward 8 Can­di­date Chris Davis. He said it would seem the city has missed the mark in con­sult­ing with busi­ness own­ers as the project went on.

“It’s not about the engi­neer­ing, it’s not about the city do­ing work, it’s about remembering the hu­man side,” he said.

Davis said he wants to make sure there are still store­fronts open once the city’s up­grades to the street are done, rather than just for lease signs.

“It can be done bet­ter and we’re see­ing the re­sult of it not be­ing done bet­ter here to­day,” said Davis.

Lo­gan Tolsma, an engi­neer and project man­ager for the 17 Av­enue up­grades, ex­plained to Metro last week that part of the de­lays are due to unan­tic­i­pated prob­lems that crop up once work­ers have bro­ken ground.

One de­lay he noted was due to prob­lems with trench­ing for the trees that will be planted along the side­walk.

“We know that we’re im­pact­ing these busi­nesses and we’re try­ing as hard as we can to con­tinue to ad­vance and get out of there,” he said.

Es­ther Kelly, ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the 17 Av­enue Re­tail and En­ter­tain­ment District BIA said busi­nesses un­der­stand that un­ex­pected things come up.

“I think all the busi­ness own­ers are very ra­tio­nal,” she said. “They’re en­trepreneurs, they un­der­stand how some­times sur­prises hap­pen.”

She said the com­plaint she’s hear­ing now is about lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the city on what’s hap­pen­ing.

“It’s just a mat­ter of mak­ing sure that line of com­mu­ni­ca­tion is open,’ she said.

house on 17 Av­enue Wed­nes­day. ac­cepts a busi­ness card from Chad McCormick of TMAC Pub and Restau­rant Group at an open if i’m suc­cess­ful next week, we’ll make sure we get things back on track. Bill smith

BRodie ThoMAs/MeTRo

cal­gary may­oral can­di­date Bill smith

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