Puslinch small businesses ask for help surviving lengthy construction

PUSLINCH ‒ Some small businesses are asking the township to implement a construction mitigation program to help local those affected by lengthy projects.

In a letter to council, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the country’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses, asked that the initiative include direct funding for income losses exacerbated by construction.

“Lengthy construction projects have wreaked havoc on many of our members,” said the letter. “Reduced accessibility has resulted in decreased foot traffic, leading to lower sales and forcing some businesses to close.”

Located beside the Puslinch Tract Conservation Area at 4333 Wellington Rd 32, Little Lake Market, a 'clean label' cafe and shop with gluten-and-vegan-friendly options, is one local business struggling with construction-related disruptions.

In the letter, owner Alexander Paciorkowski said that he’s seen municipal road work and related detour signage divert traffic away from his business.

Paciorkowski also claimed that many vehicles have used the business’ retail parking lot as a means of turning around to avoid detours, causing safety concerns for patrons, damaging asphalt in the lot, and costing the business money.

“Small businesses are willing to put up with some frustration to reap the rewards of improved transportation and infrastructure (but) the problem is that they must somehow manage to survive until the project reaches the finish line,” said the letter. “The glossy project images never show the mess businesses are forced to go through to get there.”

Council decided to forward the letter to the county's economic department for further consideration.

Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

Isabel Buckmaster, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com