Business owners in Sydney, N.S., want a pedestrian tunnel that has been locked for years to be opened to the public, but the Cape Breton Regional Municipality say it's too dangerous to have the covered pathway open.

It's been nearly a decade since King's Road was rebuilt and the $280,000 pedestrian tunnel put in.

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality says the tunnel was part of a plan to link Wentworth Park to the Sydney boardwalk. But that never happened so the gates remain locked for safety reasons.

The owners of Doktor Luke's coffee shop asked if the tunnel could be opened or if they could take responsibility for locking it each day. They were told no.

“Which to me is a bit disappointing, because why have the tunnel? Why invest in that kind of thing for ease of access and safety and then decide not to deal with the challenges that would come with that,” said co-owner Julie Sutherland.

Shaun MacDonald can see the tunnel from his hair salon.

“I believe if that gate was open it would increase more business to this salon and the other businesses on this side of the street. It would also be good for the tourists coming off the ships to be able to enter the park,” he said.

The municipality said it may take several years but it still plans to extend the boardwalk. When that happens, CBRM said it will open the tunnel and allocate extra resources to address its safety issues.

Sutherland said two or three years is too long for a small businesses to wait.