In the warm season, Winnipeg inevitably morphs into a vast landscape of construction, a recurring phenomenon that has become synonymous with summer. Recognizing the impact this has on local businesses, City Councillor Sherri Rollins of Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry, is actively investigating potential mitigation programs for the small businesses hit hardest by the prolonged construction activities.
Rollins is currently delving into the feasibility of implementing construction mitigation grants to offer economic relief to businesses unduly impacted by prolonged or unexpected construction periods. She emphasizes that while patience is a common attribute in the face of construction-related inconveniences, an accurate and timely report of construction schedules is of paramount importance.
In her quest for a solution, Rollins has drawn parallels with the City of Toronto, which has an established grant system in place to aid businesses affected by long-term construction. She clarifies that these may not be substantial grants, but smaller cash injections numbering in the thousands might significantly alleviate the strain experienced by businesses during extended periods of construction.
Rollins has been in dialogue with several business owners within her ward, some of whom have reported a significant 20% decline in their business due to construction activities. The businesses under her care span across five business zones, and Rollins intends to bring samples from these zones, as well as examples from less represented areas that have reached out to her during the season, for consideration. The recurring issue affecting these businesses, Rollins indicates, are extended dealing periods with construction during the last two seasons, which has led to noticeable dents in their operation.
Alongside the proposed grant system, Rollins insists on improving the transparency and communication from the city in regards to construction timelines. On this matter, she laments the desire for accurate, timely reports of construction delays. Just the other day, she prompted the city to provide a more authentic representation of the construction timeline on South Osborne, as it was well known in the community that the project had not been completed by the end of August as originally planned.
The city official intends to share her findings and discuss them with the director of public works, hoping to implement effective measures to alleviate the adverse impacts that seasonal construction has on small Winnipeg business owners.