The City of Fort St. John says the third phase of the 100th Street revitalization is on schedule, while a local business continues to be impacted.
Whitney Armstrong, manager of Scoop Clothing on 100th Ave., said the alley behind the store has been closed off, creating parking issues.
“Everybody who works in all these buildings is also parking out here. So, parking has been awful. A lot of our clients will just turn around and go home because they can’t come, so, we are losing people that way,” said Armstrong.
Ryan Harvey, communications coordinator for the City of Fort St. John, said the city is aware of the disruption, but the construction is crucial to repair failing underground infrastructure, after a water leak in 2018.
“The last thing we’d ever want to do is allow those underground utilities to deteriorate to that level. That would mean that we’d have to make emergency repairs again and again, and again. This would obviously be more disruptive than a couple of summers of construction,” said Harvey.
Armstrong feels like the city could be doing more in terms of support for local businesses affected.
“It’s supposed to be over in October. We’re already almost in August. They mentioned trying to get some grants for social media. I haven’t heard back about that,” said Armstrong.
In May, Armstrong spoke to the city about a monthly block party for the businesses in the area to continue to connect with the community throughout the construction.
“Nothing came to fruition with that. They just told me that they don’t have staff to run anymore events. I asked what it would look like if I were to run one, and I didn’t get a lot of answers back,” said Armstrong.
According to Harvey, construction is running on schedule, and the city is looking into different ways to support the businesses along the construction zone.
“We’ve done a few things already, and we’ll obviously continue to work with these businesses to see which avenues we can support. I’d have to follow up with our economic development department on what those specifically mean,” said Harvey.
Armstrong hopes the city will take a different approach to local businesses affected by construction in the future.
“I would just like to see better communication. I think communication is the key in running a smooth infrastructure and a smooth community,” said Armstrong.
The City of Fort St. John’s budget for phase 3 of the 100th St. revitalization project is $9.6 million.