Tracy Holmes photos Tom Corless and Ray Francouer of the White Rock Elks are frustrated with that they had no warning their sidewalk and driveway would be torn up for infrastructure upgrades. The work

Tracy Holmes photos Tom Corless and Ray Francouer of the White Rock Elks are frustrated with that they had no warning their sidewalk and driveway would be torn up for infrastructure upgrades. The work

Patience in White Rock runs out, by George

Business owners say there was no warning about construction, site foreman disagrees

  • Nov. 28, 2012 9:00 a.m.

White Rock Elks members say they have been more than patient through disruptions over the past year associated with construction in the 1400-block of George Street.

But when workers tore up the hall’s main driveway access Tuesday, effectively preventing any disabled members from coming in, and blocking the hall’s emergency exits, they drew the line.

“Handicapped members can’t get into the building,” Tom Corless said, noting one member actually tripped on the debris Tuesday night. “The two emergency doors at the front, you can’t get out because it’s all dug up.

“It’s just not acceptable… a mess.”

The current work along the street got underway about 10 days ago. Site foreman Manuel Ferreira said it is to upgrade the sanitary system to handle the increased flow expected once the near-complete Avra tower is occupied; in about a week, the focus will be on upgrading storm-sewer connections. Sidewalk and curb work is expected to get underway Dec. 21.

But while Corless and Elks president Ray Francoeur said they and surrounding businesses should have been given a heads-up so they could notify members and post signage redirecting visitors, Ferreira insisted notice was provided.

“The notice was given over a year ago that this was coming,” Ferreira said, adding a reminder was issued two weeks prior to the work’s start.

“There’s always notice. Why would I be doing this if they weren’t aware?”

He noted that completion of the work that affected the Elks driveway access was delayed Tuesday by congestion that prevented his trucks from getting to the gravel pit in time. He assured Corless and Francoeur – who emailed their concerns to White Rock council members Tuesday night – that it would be addressed by the end of Wednesday.

White Rock Coun. Bill Lawrence said “somebody definitely dropped the ball” with regards to blocking the hall’s access.

“I’m not sure what the operator or construction crew worker was thinking,” he said.

Lawrence said he contacted city officials Wednesday morning about the issue and was assured the developer would be contacted.

Business owners on Russell Avenue and Johnston Road said they have also been frustrated by a lack of notice in connection with the work. It has impacted parking, and customers find the flow of construction equipment through the private lot “intimidating,” said Ron Yoong, owner of Penang Szechuan Restaurant on Russell Avenue.

“Some people come, they can’t find parking,” Yoong said. “It’s very inconvenient for everybody.

“At least tell us, send a letter. We never get anything from them.”

Aflaton Rezai-Alamdari, who works in the Seashore Music store on Johnston Road, said he has seen Bobcat operators “racing” on two wheels on their way through the lot. Their path rolls through the two parking spots that are allocated to the store, he said.

He agreed notice was not provided.

“Everybody’s upset. They don’t even ask at all,” Rezai-Alamdari said.