Three weeks after dire predictions from local business owners the Wilson Street reconstruction will have negative consequences on their community, the half-million dollar project while troublesome, hasn’t become as destructive as expected.
“No question it is inconvenient,” said Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson. “But it is going very well.”
He said business owners, including some that were critical of the project happening so soon after the $4-million Wilson Street reconstruction from Halson to Fidders’ Green, have said the contractor, Associated Paving, is working closely with them to mitigate any problems.
Ferguson said the sidewalks on the east side of Wilson Street have been completed, and workers are focused on the west side of the roadway.
The new sidewalk and urban landscape should be complete by the end of August. It will then take a few days to “shave and pave” the asphalt from Halson to Rousseau streets, he said.
“It should go quickly,” said Ferguson.
Ancaster Heritage Village Business Improvement Area executive director Leah Higens said the work “seems to be going very well.”
Although the work is disruptive for businesses, she said compared to last year’s construction, it’s a minor distraction.
“People are still driving down Wilson Street, and there are people in the stores,” she said. “That’s a good sign.”
Wilson Street business owners were hoping the work would be complete by the end of August, but when construction began July 29, they were concerned it would extend into September when they typically attract more customers to their stores.
Ferguson also wanted the work completed before the start of the school year in September. But tendering issues forced the work to begin late in July.
The work involves improving the sidewalks and landscaping on both sides of Wilson Street, constructing bump outs in preparation for a pedestrian walkway near Memorial School and replacing the asphalt.
Ferguson, BIA officials and business owners agree the road and sidewalks are in terrible shape and need a makeover.
Ferguson said business owners have not demanded another meeting to provide an update to the work, something he promised would happen after holding a special BIA meeting prior to the construction.
Instead, he said the weekly updates from the BIA have provided the community with the necessary information.