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Scugog organizations felt 'blindsided' by Water Street project news

DAN CEARNS The Standard

SCUGOG: A number of local organizations are concerned about the lack of consultation and input into this summer’s closure and revitalization of Port Perry’s Water Street.

At a meeting on Monday, May 13th, Guy Latreille represented the local Chamber of Commerce, Port Perry BIA, economic development advisory committee, heritage committee and accessibility advisory committee.

“The livelihood of businesses [is] directly affected and will cause hardships that could result in businesses having to close. We don’t understand why there was no communication or consultation done with any of the organizations I am speaking for prior to the tender of Water Street. To close a main commercial area during the height of tourism is a very poor choice.”

Earlier this year, an update was provided to Scugog council on the Water Street revitalization project by Ward 5 Councillor Terry Coyne.

“In the BIA report, I stated that the refurb of Water Street would allow vehicle traffic during that construction period. That has since been updated, and the entire street of Water Street will be shut down, with no vehicle traffic going between [Highway] 7A and Queen Street as I understand it now.”

At the time, it was noted this was due to the subgrade of the road and that vehicles should not be driving on a road’s subbase.

Mr. Latreille stated the groups he was speaking for felt “blindsided” by the news of the Water Street closure.

He requested the township to not follow through with the current tender and instead the project should be re-tendered. However, Township staff pointed out for this to happen, the project would be delayed and brought back to square one.

In response to the consultation concerns, Robert Frasca, the Township’s acting Director of Public Works and Infrastructure, explained that consultation was done with the community during the previous term of council when meetings were held on the Township’s Waterfront Action Plan.

The Township will be holding two Public Information Centres in Scugog Council Chambers on Wednesday, May 22 at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Ward 2 Councillor Janna Guido stressed the importance of better communication with the business community.

“As a wife of a business owner, it is difficult to hear that business access is going to be tempered for a while and it’s the while that makes it difficult for a business owner. If you are able to tell a business owner that you are going to be hindered for two or three days, you can plan, maybe staff want a vacation. You can do inventory. But it’s the ‘we don’t know when and we don’t know how long’ and how it will be affected that is causing a ripple effect in our business community. It’s the unknown that’s always the most frightening thing, especially as a business owner.”

Work on Water Street is expected to be conducted in August.

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