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Lack of information on 9 Avenue construction work fueling summer biz fears for Inglewood shops

Retailers are worried the construction will severely impact business during the busy summer season.

Businesses in Inglewood say they’re frustrated after receiving short notice of underground utility work along 9 Avenue that could impact crucial summertime foot traffic.

The Inglewood Business Improvement Area (BIA) claims that not one business along 9 Avenue was notified of a potential two- to four-week closure of the 1300 block of 9 Avenue to make way for underground work.

Inglewood BIA executive director Rebecca O’Brien said she’s tried to get information from the city and the Ward 9 office about the construction, to no avail.

“For two months I have been pleading with the City for information that could help businesses plan for the street closure, and my requests have been met with either vague information or silence,” read a statement from O’Brien in a prepared news release.

“As a result, the lack of communication could create up to 50 per cent losses of much needed revenue, in particular for those businesses with patios.”

Canela Café owner Veronica Amaya said the news still hasn’t been told to them by the City of Calgary.  They’re working on a patio for their location, the only vegan bakery in Calgary with a storefront, Amaya said.  She said the permit for the patio hasn’t yet been issued.

“I feel frustrated about not knowing when this is happening. It’s going to impact myself, customers, employees and business as a whole. I have done all the required paperwork for the patios, hired staff, and planned the patio construction process,” she said.

“We are a destination who depends on foot traffic.”

Work is emergent and necessary: Coun. Carra

Ward 9 Coun. Gian Carlo Carra said when you’ve got underground pipes, from time to time if pipes fail, the work needs to get done swiftly. He said even their office was made aware of it from local merchants, not necessarily from the city.

“Things are still up in the air. We have not been we have not been informed when exactly they’re doing it,” he said.

“I think the city’s very aware of this how disruptive this is going to be but at the same time we all rely on being able to flush our toilets and turn on our taps and get fresh water and these are just essential things.”

He said his office hadn’t been in touch with the BIA because they were in the same boat – lack of information.

The City of Calgary’s Utilities Delivery business unit said that the construction date for a water main replacement was tentatively set for late May. They said they were working with the BIA, local business and residents in the area to complete the work and reduce the impact of construction.

“Replacing this water main will reduce the risk of future breaks during the winter months, and we are working to coordinate construction around both the seasonal patios and the many events which are held in Inglewood,” read a statement from the City.

The City said the water main broke in the winter of 2017 and due to the size and age of the pipe, water service was disrupted much longer than expected. They had to fabricate parts at that time to fix the problem.

The work will be done on the north side of 9 Avenue between 12 and 13 Street SE. It will also include 13 Street between 9 Avenue and the alley. 

They said two-way traffic will be maintained on 9 Avenue SE. Pedestrian access and access to businesses will also be maintained while crews are working, the city said.