New Brunswick

Fredericton vows to help businesses better prepare for construction season

The City of Fredericton says it will update businesses four times a year about planned construction projects.

During the summer of 2018, downtown construction cost restaurants more than $100K combined

Business owners haven't been sold on construction projects in downtown Fredericton over the past few years. (Mike Heenan/CBC)

The City of Fredericton says it will update businesses four times a year about planned construction projects.

In recent years the city has been criticized for not communicating well enough about construction projects in high traffic areas, causing businesses to lose customers — especially in the downtown.

Communication between the city and local businesses will start at the end of construction season this fall. Businesses will be consulted again following the December budget, when construction projects are confirmed. Then in March, as timelines and closures become more concrete. And again in June, when the work starts to get underway. 

"Our members will know two years down the road what the plan is for the next two years," said Bruce McCormack, general manager for Downtown Fredericton Inc.

"Then once we get into next year, we'll share the next two years and we'll just keep going with that. And then every period we'll be able to go back and review what had happened. What comments were made. How things worked out and what we should do to change our process."

Businesses need time to plan

McCormack said it gives businesses time to plan for some of the challenges that come with road closures. This includes hiring new staff and informing customers.

Bruce McCormack, general manager for Downtown Fredericton Inc., says the city needs to do more to help businesses better prepare for construction in the city's downtown. (CBC)

In the summer of 2018, downtown businesses owners were frustrated because they received letters a few days prior to construction. Many of them said the lack of communication gave them little time to plan ahead.

That summer, downtown construction cost restaurants in the area more than $100,000 combined. 

"Street closures are really impactful for businesses, when you take vehicles off the street. Pedestrians don't like walking in construction zones," he said. "So anything like that, it's really, really difficult."

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