Businesses bracing for Elgin St. closures and construction

Small businesses on Elgin Street are bracing for a hit to their bottom line when construction starts on Monday.

Elgin Street will be reduced from McLeod to Waverley Streets in both directions to one lane. There will be no parking available. The closure will be in effect so that Bell Canada can upgrade underground infrastructure.

Some businesses were caught off guard- and were not expecting the closures.

“It didn’t give up any time to prepare and doesn’t give us any time to actually save for the hardship,” says Henry Hassad, owner of Happy Goat Coffee Company. The store just opened on Elgin last month. Business is doing well he says, but he is worried small businesses may not be able to survive major construction outside their stores.

“A lot of small businesses will suffer through this,” he says.

Customers at Happy Goat say the work is a necessary evil. Victor Khalef says, “I always like to see that we minimize interruptions for business... but if it has to be done I guess there is nothing we can do about it.”

Barbara Legace says she will brace the construction in order to support local businesses. “It’s all about local with me,” she says. “I think in Ottawa it is a given that there is something going on on some street.”

But this is just the beginning of upheaval on Elgin Street.

The City of Ottawa has announced major road work and a major road closure coming in 2019.

A memo to city council has outlined that Elgin Street will be shut down from Gloucester Street to Isabella Street for the entirety of next year.

The closure is for the redesign and renewal of Elgin which will revamp the roadway, sidewalks, transit facilities, lighting, and sewers among other things.

Public information sessions will be held before, during, and after construction.

The city hall parking garage will also open up for free parking in 2019 on weekday evenings and weekends to compensate for the lack of street parking on Elgin.

Beginning Monday, March 12, traffic on Elgin Street, from McLeod Street to Waverley Street, will be reduced to one lane in each direction, to accommodate the first phase of Bell Canada infrastructure upgrades, which will last approximately eight weeks.
Parking will be prohibited on Elgin Street, from McLeod Street to Waverley Street, and on Frank Street, from Elgin Street to Metcalfe Street.
The west side of the Frank Street and Elgin Street intersection will be closed to vehicles.
Frank Street will temporarily become a two-way road between Elgin Street and Metcalfe Street. Access to Jack Purcell Lane will be maintained at all times.
The west side of the Gladstone Avenue and Elgin Street intersection will be reduced to one lane in each direction.