Site works create more headaches for Cloverdale businesses

More merchants are grumbling that ongoing road and site works at the old Cloverdale mall site is hurting business.

Satraj Sidhu of Smile Restaurant poses in front of his parking lot as crews work on the 175 Street laneway.

Satraj Sidhu of Smile Restaurant poses in front of his parking lot as crews work on the 175 Street laneway.

More merchants are grumbling that ongoing road and site works at the old Cloverdale mall site is hurting business.

This time it’s Satraj Sandhu of Smile Indian Restaurant, unit 1 5723 176 Street, where the parking lot was recently inaccessible for an entire day, without warning, he said, as crews worked on pre-paving the 175 Street right-of-way, cutting off the parking lot behind his business.

“It’s the whole day, I have deliveries,” he lamented, adding he had to cancel several appointments as a result.

He also says business has dropped since work began, and fears customers are frustrated because they’re having trouble finding parking nearby or accessing the restaurant for pick up.

“We are totally dependent on this business,” he said, adding he fears if the interruptions continue he’ll have to shut his restaurant down.

Sandhu said he complained to the office of the mayor and to others. When he contacted the Reporter, he was expecting a call from the contractor on this portion of the construction project.

In the summer, neighbouring businesses were advised that as of July 29, B&B Contracting would be constructing offsite roadworks and utilities for a mixed use residential development at 58 Avenue, 57 Avenue, Highway 15, and the 175 Street lane way for the next six months.

B&B Contracting is creating new roads, sidewalks and utilities infrastructure so the Cloverdale West Village project, a multi-phase commercial and residential development, can get started in 2014.

Phase one is being spearheaded by Surrey City Development Corporation and Townline Housing Solutions in collaboration with the Cloverdale Legion.

Cloverdale BIA executive director Paul Orazietti confirms that several businesses have complained about the project  (“Site works bad for business,” Oct. 10), citing vibrations caused by heavy equipment and other problems, including laneway access to their business.

He said problems arise when merchants don’t get adequate warning that access will be cut off or that there will be roadwork going on directly beside their business.

“There’s been times when it’s a full day,” Orazietti said, referring to road closures along the 175 Street right-of-way, an access point for deliveries and parking.

While the city has a right to impede traffic when construction takes place, Orazietti notes, notification has not been timely enough for merchants who need to make alternate arrangements for deliveries and other considerations.

“They need to give notice, in advance of the date,” he said. “The more notice you can give, the easier people can prepare.”

He suggests opening up better channels of communication with merchants, such as talking to them directly, and, where possible, putting notices in the newspaper warning of disruption.

Meanwhile, there is no mechanism to provide financial compensation to those merchants claiming to have lost business as a result, he said.

“So, it’s a burden. It is very much a burden to people who are adjacent to the site.”

Orazietti said there’s very little that can be done to mitigate the situation until the project is complete other than to urge people to patronize those businesses that are impacted.

“I know there are people who are definitely suffering, and I encourage all the citizens to shop locally and support them.”

Orazietti would also like to see the laneway portion of the project completed more quickly than the roads and infrastructure required for the internal sections of the site.

“It’s a painful process when you’re going through that level of construction,” he said, adding it’s not unlike what businesses along the Cambie Street corridor in Vancouver went through during the construction of the Canada Line for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

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