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Point Edward businesses report big losses while road reconstruction drags on

A growing list of delays in Point Edward road reconstruction is frustrating local business owners who say sales are down between 25% and 50%.
They're back. Construction crews are on the job again after a four-day Ministry of Labour stop-work order shut down progress along Lite and St. Clair streets in Point Edward.

A growing list of delays in Point Edward road reconstruction is frustrating local business owners who say sales are down between 25% and 50%.

"We knew construction was coming and I understand new infrastructure has to happen, but it is taking much longer than the six weeks we were told. Business is suffering," said Dean Trioiani, owner of Sarnia Produce on Lite Street.

He estimates retail sales are down about 50% at his store compared to the same time last year.

The biggest road reconstruction in the village's history got under way in early April. Phase One along Lite and St. Clair, in front of a busy commercial area, was to be complete by June.

However, watermain breaks, gas breaks and a Ministry of Labour stop-work order last week have left Troiani and his neighbours with a lot of questions.

Ministry of Labour officials confirmed that three orders were issued against contractor McNally Excavating Ltd. on June 12, but will not confirm what the orders are for until an ongoing investigation is over.

Workers were allowed back on the site late Tuesday after a delay that lasted nearly a week.

Ministry spokesperson Manuel Alas-Sevillano said in an email that the government does not provide information regarding an ongoing investigation but may release details once the investigation is concluded.

Meanwhile, David Kruger, co-owner at Point Brewing Company, said he is "losing trust" in the contractor.

"Communication is not great," he said.  "We have to go out to speak to someone on the road in order to know what's going on. Sometimes they'll say they put a letter in the mail but we don't get it."

Sales at the brewing company, tap room and patio were up 25% over 2023 prior to road construction, and are now down 23%, Kruger said. 

"We've had to abruptly close several times because of breaks in the water lines or the gas lines.

"And we were told it would be six weeks and it would be done in May. Here we are close to July," he said. 

Customers have road access to all businesses along St. Clair and Lite streets, Troiani stressed.

"But I understand from a customer point of view, you see a major construction zone and you try to avoid it," he said.  

"Access us there but the road isn't the best."

Across the street, Ironworks Health and Wellness gym is experiencing a 40% decrease in day-to-day sales, said owner Jordy Bettridge.

"Access changes all the time and it's confusing to our customers," he said. Currently, Ironworks' 1,000 members can get to the gym by way of Helena Street, then park in the Fabbri Tile lot.

"About two months of construction was expected and it's stretched well past that," Bettridge said. 

"This is costing us money. I understand it's short-term pain for long-term gain but we've got the sidewalks, multi-purpose paths and boulevards to go. There's been a lot of miscommunication and a lot of frustration."

Village CAO Jim Burns said Wednesday that the contractor has confirmed plans to pave the roadway in front of the businesses early next week. 

He said the village requested a copy of the Ministry of Labour orders related to the roadwork and McNally.

"But we've received nothing," said Burns. 


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