Downtown frustration

Mike Carson
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Business operators irate over road closures due to Canada Games

SUMMERSIDE - Frustrated with the lack of information surrounding street closures for next month's Canada Games, downtown businesses operators aired their concerns with games officials and city representatives, Wednesday night.
The loss of business to well over 300 establishments from Aug. 18 to Aug. 21 because of road closures for athletic events including two triathlon and cycling events is more than many merchants are willing to accept.

SUMMERSIDE - Frustrated with the lack of information surrounding street closures for next month's Canada Games, downtown businesses operators aired their concerns with games officials and city representatives, Wednesday night.
The loss of business to well over 300 establishments from Aug. 18 to Aug. 21 because of road closures for athletic events including two triathlon and cycling events is more than many merchants are willing to accept.
The meeting was called by Downtown Summerside Inc. and chaired by president Nelson Snow.
The biggest question business operators had was why were they not informed of these street closures with they were first set out. They had no information as to how long the streets would be closed to the public, if there would be any access routes established and what the parking situation would be like throughout the downtown.
With the games just a month away, many businesses operators felt they would have to shut down and predicted big financial losses with some being unable to pay their employees over the four day period.
"It was poor job of communication," Snow said. "I want the city and Canada Games to get that message."
There was much finger pointing throughout the evening as to who was at fault but Snow urged all the parties involved to try and make the best out of a very bad situation.
Snow said the games will bring people into the city and a way needs to be found to capitalize on it.
"What it (Canada Games) does is it highlights the area on the national and international levels," Snow said. "It's impossible to put a price on it but there is a definite benefit. People see what a beautiful place this is, what it has to offer and they come back. It's proven again and again."
"That's not much comfort to you, I know, especially if you're shut down for four days and you're looking at your statements at the end of the month," he said. "But it does have definite benefits to the city and the province in increased traffic down the road."
The business operators said they are not against the Canada Games but want to find some way that the impact on their businesses can be limited.
Some of the recommendation coming from Wednesday's meeting was altering the bicycle race route (the same route used by Tour P.E.I.) to move it away from the downtown core or at least changing the timing of the races to the evening to allow business to operate during the day.
Signage needs to be placed throughout the city informing people that the downtown is not closed for four days but is open for business and provide a means of access to get there.
Canada Games and city officials said they will be looking into the recommendations and try to devise a plan of action that benefits businesses.

Organizations: Canada Games, Downtown Summerside

Geographic location: SUMMERSIDE

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Recent comments

  • Polly
    June 21, 2010 - 19:07

    You're right Peter, what about the people who work downtown, how we suppose to get through closed roads? Petty sure my employer expects me to be able to get to work and on time!

  • Get behind the games
    June 21, 2010 - 19:07

    Belinda...we can't wait to have you and your family in PEI for the Canada Games. There really is a tremendous amount of excitement and enthusisam surrounding this event. Please don't take the negative spin spewed by some to mean that the majority of folks aren't really exicted about the Canada Games.

    While i understand there being some concerns by downtown business owners surrounding communication of street closures and the like, the notion that any business owner would be actually upset that the street is going to be closed to motor vehicles while a national compeition that brings thousands of athletes, families, and friends to our community is ridiculous. Downtown Summerisde is easily accessible on foot and there is PLENTY of parking within a 5 minute walk on the streets just to the north of the downtown. The merchants have a tremendous opportunity to get behind the games and attract spectators, tourists and locals alike into thier shops. In my humble opinion they should be putting their energy behind organizing and coming up with ideas to make the downtown even more attractive to customers ie. Canada Games specials, contests, outdoor cafes, etc...
    Summerside and PEI in general has built a nice little economic engine around sport tourism....it's a little silly to start shooting ourselves in the foot at this point.

    Belinda, rest assured, the welcome mat is out to you and the rest of the visiters to the Island for the Games.

  • give me a break
    June 21, 2010 - 19:07

    Polly...not sure where you work downtown but i'm thinking you can likely park oh anywhere north of water st. and make the 5-10 minute walk to work. Do you think you can manage to leave 10 minutes early for that week Polly? I know it will be a complete burden but do you think you could do it????

  • Larry
    June 21, 2010 - 19:05

    To Commuter, when should they do roadwork, December?

  • peter
    June 21, 2010 - 19:05

    sO WITH the streets being closed down i hope the city is going to pay me and the rest of the people that have to work theses days

  • jamie
    June 21, 2010 - 19:05

    peter!....you may be required to work 4to6 12 hour shifts and possibly make many extra tips if your employer management has the capabilty to look outside thier box....also, what a great opportunity to move some of that world class lobster ...huge potential.... big cheers for summerside.

  • belinda
    June 21, 2010 - 19:04

    My family and I are travelling to PEI sepcifically for the Canada Games. I expect we will be on foot once we are in the town itself. I prefer to stroll the streets of a downtown area instead of driving. Like Jamie said - you might be surprised by how many customers you have.

  • commuter
    June 21, 2010 - 19:04

    i think it is pathetic on how much road work is going on, the cities should keep up on the roads on a regular basis. so sick of sitting in hunter river for a half an hour each way just to get to and from summerside!!!

  • Violet
    June 21, 2010 - 19:03

    to Commuter,
    there are two other ways to get from Summerside to Charlottetown, Kinkora or Tryon way. I had to go to Charlottetown for work and I found the best way was Tryon way. As far as businesses complaining of road closures during the games gee you may be busy with all the people that are expected to be here. Downtown is always complaining about not enough customers can't have customers if you are not open. That is just my opinion

  • jamie
    June 21, 2010 - 19:03

    capitalize is right....potentially thousands of pedestrians will be on your doorstep...open up with a 1/2 rotating staff schedule....you can't get better advertizing at that price....if you can provide parking...charge!..if you can provide food, beverages, t shirts, caps, music cd's, poster's, post cards, washrooms for paying customers only...charge, charge , charge, all with a friendly smile of coarse.....you might be pleasently surprized.

  • June
    June 21, 2010 - 19:03

    Ever heard of Sidewalk Sales They are very popular in the big cities during major events. Lots of money to be made if you can be creative and capitalize on the great opportunity being offered to you.

    I'll be coming downhome for holidays during this period and will be downtown with bells on looking for some great deals and souvenirs to be bring for friends.

    See you in August!