High St. W. Merchants Finally Seeing Hope

Robert Thomas

After a year of road construction, High Street merchants are finally seeing a ray of hope regarding what was recently dubbed the Worst Road in Saskatchewan.

"We need from 4th Avenue open and a little bit more traffic," said Todd Shymanski, owner of EZ Tech Computers, adding "we won't have a little bit more traffic until the entire street is open."

He reports that having the ability to now drive up and park in front of his business has brought a few more customers into his shop.

"We are seeing some more customers with traffic right now about 20 per cent of normal. It will pick up once you can go all the way to the 4 way (stop) on Fifth (Ave NW) and go north and south from there...once they pave it, it will be back and we will see a normal traffic flow."

"It's been a long haul, it's gone from two to three weeks per block, to a time frame that is almost comical."

Despite the delays, frustration and damage to his business he is impressed with the work being done by Cypress Paving.

For the most part, High St. W. is now clear and accessible

For the most part, High St. W. is now clear and accessible

"I'm happy to see the job Cypress Paving is doing. The amount of work and the speed with this. They have other projects on hold to get this done. They're out here every Saturday working on it."

Darrell Markin from Cross Canada Flooring said business is starting to pick up.

"Since the road is open we have seen an increase in traffic. From a retail perspective it what we think traffic should be," Markin told MJ Independent.

Markin said the smooth and accessible condition of High Street today is "where it should have been in November of last year. That means these guys are eight months behind."

Sales are slowly starting to pick up, he said, now that people can drive up and park in front of his shop.

"It allows them to come in and drive and park in front of your store," he said about the road now being open and smooth. It just needs a finally recapping.

A sign of business picking up is in April and May, he never sold one bed, in the last week he has sold three. By being able to park in front of his shop without hitting potholes this cash and carry item is selling.

Markin said the one thing not commented too much on; that being a much higher traffic volume on Fairford Street West.

"I had a lady on Fairford saying the traffic and dust has been incredible. The City needs to get them off of our street and get them onto High Street."

Markin said its hard to be critical of the City as a business because you need to support and speak positive of your local community but at the same time you needed to give City Hall a bit of a dig.

"At the end of the day, if you look back on it, how can one prevent this from happening again?"

"The City of Moose Jaw cannot allow this to ever happen again. It's too big of an effect...the City needs to plan better...this is not a big project but obviously it was to us."

Markin spoke about the effect the City had and can have.

"When you shut a business down for four months it is almost impossible to stay open. No person is able to equate this in a business plan. In a business plan you can work in interest rates, sales drops and the like but nobody would ever think a City could take a business out."

When it comes to insurance to prevent such a devastating effect on a business it simply doesn't exist.

"There is no insurance that will prevent a city from taking out a business."

Both businesses expect a return to full traffic as early as Friday from Main Street to Fifth Avenue NW.

According to the latest construction update from the City, High Street repairs are progressing, with the 300 block now open and the 400 block to open this week.

All of the businesses remain open during the construction.