By Kyle Reid for The Pearl
Mount Pearl City Council is searching for a strategy to appease Commonwealth Avenue business owners and bring back shoppers who have been avoiding the area because of the ongoing major roadwork on the thoroughfare.
Councillor Bill Antle approached the topic during Tuesday’s regular council meeting, updating his colleagues on a recent effort by him and Mayor Dave Aker to reach out to business owners on Commonwealth.
“Last week myself and the mayor decided to go for a walk on Commonwealth Avenue,” said Antle, during the new and unfinished business portion of the meeting. “We walked to every business on Commonwealth Avenue, introduced ourselves, asked them what the issues were and it was eye-opening.”
Antle estimated that he and Aker visited 36 businesses along Commonwealth Avenue to discuss problems related to the large-scale construction project which has been ongoing throughout the spring, summer and fall. Some business owners on Commonwealth Avenue have declared that they will look to the City for tax rebates in an effort to address the affect area construction has had on their business.
However, as for councils plan to do right by the scorned business owners, Antle said council would likely discuss the issue further in the committee of the whole meeting following the public council meeting.
“We’ll talk about this more a little bit later in the committee of the whole and see what we can do,” said Antle.
Deputy Mayor Jim Locke weighed in on the subject during his turn in the round table discussion. Locke updated council on last week’s meeting between the City’s Infrastructure and Public Works Committee and some 12 business owners on Commonwealth Avenue. Locke said that meeting was productive and that the committee resolved to make extra efforts to increase access to local businesses during the tail end of the project.
The deputy mayor went further, noting that the while council and local business owners were well aware of the size of the project, the sheer scope of the work may have gone unappreciated.
“(Business owners) knew it was no small undertaking, but I don’t think they anticipated the scale of this project,” said Locke. “In many cases we may have not anticipated it.”
With the project expected to be complete next month, Locke said that the City will be looking to celebrate conclusion of the work and repair relationships miffed business owners.
“We are going to do everything in our power to help these businesses and get these people back to Commonwealth,” said Locke.
Mayor Dave Aker noted that he expects council to meet again with area business owners to discuss a strategy to further promote the area as Mount Pearl’s commercial hub.
“I suggest we’ll get together with (Commonwealth) business people over the coming weeks and we can work together to make that promotion successful,” said Aker.