Olympic restrictions worry Lower Mainland businesses
The Olympic transportation plan announced Wednesday is not sitting well with many businesses in Vancouver and along the Sea to Sky Highway, the only route to the other major Games site in Whistler
Business owners around the Athletes Village on False Creek are nervous after it was made public that the area would be closed Nov. 1.
"There will be retailers that will probably see a decline in sales during that period of time because people won't come downtown to make those purchases, but certainly there will be many others that will benefit," Charles Gauthier of Vancouver's Downtown Business Improvement Assn. told CBC News.
"Anyone who sells Olympic merchandise, we're told, will do extremely well because that's what spectators are looking for — small items that they can take home," Gauthier said.
Two blocks from the Athletes Village, James Lew, at George's Auto Body, has been dealing with added congestion and road shut-downs for months.
'Everyone's got a mortgage to pay'
The neighbourhood around his business will be the first in the city to be sealed-off for the Olympics when it's handed over to VANOC on Nov. 1, for athletes' use. And that has Lew concerned about the impact on his business.
"Everyone's got a mortgage to pay and kids to feed," Lew said. "They're supposed to have provisions for us, flag people directing our customers in. Hopefully they'll keep their word."
Other area retailers expressed similar concerns.
"It will paralyze our delivery during that time so we are actually forced to move a couple of blocks up on Cambie [Street], because that's a problem for us," said Boldijarre Koronczay, who runs Eminence Skin Care, near False Creek.
A few days before the Games begin, a security checkpoint will be set up on the Sea to Sky highway near Alice Lake, about 13 kilometres north of Squamish.
Some Whistler businesses — about 50 kilometres north of Squamish — worry the checkpoint will scare off regular visitors.
Business owners in Squamish say they'll lose out because the buses headed up to Whistler won't stop in their community and many regular visitors might be scared off.
"We have great local support," said Kristin Furtney, who runs the Zefyr Café, "It would be devastating to lose that."