Summerside pedestrian mall closes early

Reviews are mixed for the first attempt at a pedestrian mall in Summerside, P.E.I., says the local business association.

Petition launched to reopen Water St. to traffic

Reviews are mixed for the first attempt at a pedestrian mall in Summerside, P.E.I., says the local business association.

Tim MacKay, owner of Downtown Convenience, says he will do what he can to make sure the pedestrian mall does not return to his street. (CBC)

A portion of Water Street was closed to traffic this summer as a way to encourage more pedestrians into the downtown core. The group Downtown Summerside has been offering entertainment and other programming.

Tim MacKay, owner of Downtown Convenience, said the experiment has not worked out for him. He said business was good in the beginning when there was an early summer festival, but it went downhill from there.

"We are down on an average day of sales $200, but in a summer day we are probably down more like $400 a day for the whole time," said MacKay.

"If you want to revitalize the downtown, this is not the way to do it."

MacKay is one of the people behind a petition asking for the project to come to an end.

Downtown Summerside officials will re-open the street to traffic this weekend, a couple of weeks earlier than first planned. President Brent Gallant said reviews have been mixed.

Summerside's pedestrian mall experiment did not attract enough shoppers, some critics say. (CBC)

"I think it worked just fine. I think it will just have to be revised and tweaked," said Gallant.

"We will have to improve what we have done and look at what we can do better, and look at how we can intensify that, what mix of products and activities will make it better for next year."

Gallant said it's possible a pedestrian mall could be set up in another area of the city next summer.

Mackay said he'll be doing everything he can to make sure it doesn't return to his portion of Water Street.


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