A restaurateur along Calgary’s famed ‘Red Mile’ believes despite a less-aggressive timeline, a construction project to rehabilitate 17 Avenue South will have a negative impact on his business.
“I’m expecting sales to drop 30 to 40 per cent,” said Sam Friley, owner of Buttermilk Fine Waffles.
Friley’s restaurant is located on the 300-block of 17 Avenue S.W., which is slated for crews to begin work mid-August.
“People are going to avoid it like the plague with their cars,” said Friley. “People already are looking for excuses to avoid coming downtown.”
“Anybody who drives to Buttermilk, which is a huge number of people on the weekends; that business is going to dry up. Nobody is parking two blocks away to come to Buttermilk. It’s gonna hurt.”
LISTEN: Senior transportation engineer with the City of Calgary on 17 Ave S.W. construction
The multi-year, multi-million dollar project to reconstruct 17 Avenue South gets underway this month, with an updated timeline for completion. City of Calgary senior project engineer Logan Tolsma said the revised construction schedule was the result of consultations with business owners who felt the original plan required too many parts of the busy business district to be shut down at any given time.
“The plan right now is to go up to 5 Street from Macleod Trail this year,” said Tolsma. “In the fall, we’ll re-evaluate and take some lessons learned from what we’ve encountered and make sure we nail down the best plan going forward for subsequent years.”
“I’m relieved I’m going to get May, June and July on my part of the street, because they’re huge months,” said Friley. “But I’d prefer they’d wait until Sep. 1 when sales drop off anyway.”
LISTEN: How the construction on 17 Ave. S.W. is impacting Waves Coffee House
Tolsma said the new timeline for completion is three years.
The $44-million project will replace a number of underground water and sanitary pipes – some of which are a century old. The road foundation and asphalt surface will also be replaced. Tolsma said the last time the road was reconstructed in that area was at least thirty years ago.