Roadwork has downtown business owners fuming

The first block of Centre Street in Meadow Lake was closed July 12 as construction crews moved in to repave the roadway. Work on the street, as well as other projects in the community, is being completed by city crews and workers with G & C Asphalt Services from North Battleford.

The first block of Centre Street in Meadow Lake was closed July 12 as construction crews moved in to repave the roadway. Work on the street, as well as other projects in the community, is being completed by city crews and workers with G & C Asphalt Services from North Battleford.

by Derek Cornet

With road construction underway throughout Meadow Lake, some business owners on Centre Street feel the city failed their to do its due diligence to consult.

Normally on a Friday, the street outside Sandy’s Pharmacy is bustling with traffic and pedestrians, but when owner Sandra Dufour opened her business the morning of July 12, the sights and sound of heavy equipment dominated the roadway.

“The roadwork is wonderful and everything, but if they bankrupt me because people can’t come into my store, there’s really not going to be a lot of money to pay for maintenance,” Dufour said.

The city is currently in the midst of a road repair blitz, which is expected to last until Aug. 9. Dufour said she was never consulted about the closure of Centre Street and only found out about it Wednesday afternoon (July 10), after she was delivered a notice. Upon reading it, she said she had no time to adjust her business for the change.

“Basically, the day before, a paper is dropped off saying this is what we’re doing, take it or leave it,” she said.

While Dufour said she’d be appreciative if the city consulted business owners about issues that affect them, she believes the likelihood of that isn’t very strong. Last fall, Dufour expressed similar concerns about the installation of new street lights on Centre Street and feels now those efforts were fruitless.

“They had done the same thing prior when they did the lamps a few months back, and I expressed my opinion at that time,” she said. “So obviously, not enough people expressed their opinions.”

Dufour isn’t alone with her concerns. Dave Martodam, owner of Martodam’s The Clothing People, also said his business wasn’t given sufficient notice. He also didn’t like how work began right before the weekend.

“Friday is the busiest day of the week,” Martodam said. “If there’s one day you don’t want to do something you don’t have to, it’s that day.”

He said the store was unusually quiet throughout the entire repair process and questioned why the work couldn’t have been done at the beginning of the week instead. If the city approached businesses about their construction schedule, Martodam said it would help ease the transition tremendously.

“It’s always an inconvenience for everybody, but for businesses, it’s quite an inconvenience,” he said.

Meadow Lake mayor Gary Vidal said it’s unfortunate some business owners feel upset about the process, but said the city did advertise the work in advance.

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