CFIB "Disappointed" With City Response to High St. W

Robert Thomas

The issue of High Street and the financial damage that delayed construction has had upon businesses once again came across Council's attention, at Monday evenings meeting, only this time it was silently filed away.

In the back of the agenda package was a letter to Mayor Frasier Tolmie from Jennifer Henshaw, Senior Policy Analyst Prairie with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) thanking Executive Committee for listening to their May 14th presentation plus requesting action in a number of areas.

"We are disappointed that the City failed to take decisive action to address their concerns with the ongoing road construction delays," Henshaw wrote.

The CFIB is still looking for a detailed construction completion plan, improved communications with affected business owners and concrete measures to mitigate the impact of construction delays

The letter gave examples of one business owner who lost $3000 in the month of April and another business that said their customers have just decided to shop elsewhere.

In the area of mitigation, the CFIB asks the City to waive business license, utility and 2018 property taxes for the businesses most severely impacted.

The letter was not discussed nor received and filed by Council but was treated as an information portion of the agenda.

The issue of High Street West is tied to Phase Two of the 20 year cast iron watermain replacement program.

Phase Two included High Street West where there were delays and construction was not completed in 2017.

In May, the City took back control of the project from G Ungar Construction, claiming problems such as poor compaction as one of the reasons for doing so. The street was named the Worst Road in Saskatchewan as part of an on-line Canadian Automobile Association poll.

City Engineer Josh Mickelborouh stated it was a project where anything that could go wrong went wrong.

G Ungar Construction disputes the City's claims in why they were released from the project.
Reportedly the legal wrangling continues.