Some business owners in downtown St. John's say renovations on an office tower, which has closed a section of Water Street since early October, is driving away customers.
Construction workers have been using a large, blue crane to replace the facade of the Fortis-owned TD Building at the corner of Water, Duckworth and Prescott streets.
To accommodate the machinery, a section of Water Street has been closed, eliminating access to parking spaces and a bus stop on that section of the busy downtown thoroughfare.
Brad Burness, who owns Coffee and Company, said the closure has also eliminated a large chunk of his business.
"October 2nd, whenever the date was when that crane came, until the end of October, our sales were not even equal to last year but down, down 10 per cent, " said Burness. "And a lot of other retailers have found the same thing."
"You know, three weeks has stretched into six, seven weeks now. It was supposed to end the end of October, move it by then, and yeah, it's still there."
Complaints are increasing
Scott Cluney, executive director of the Downtown Development Commission, said he's been hearing more complaints from business owners as the crucial Christmas shopping season nears.
"People are getting out, they're starting to do their Christmas shopping. Any delay in traffic flows starts to trickle down and it hits right in the cash registers."
Burness said he accepts downtown road closures, to a point .
"When [the city] did all the road restructuring with putting the new sewer lines in, the water, it needed to be done," he said.
"[But] this is a private company shutting, basically, down the business for the businesses between here and Fortis. And it's affecting our livelihood."
Officials with the City of St. John's said the crane will be removed for one day - Thursday - which is a tax-free shopping day in downtown St. John's.
However, the crane is scheduled to return on Friday and remain on Water Street until Nov. 24.