The City of St. John’s announced today that it will postpone the start of the water street infrastructure replacement project to spring 2017. And they’ve got a few reason why.
Water Street is a vital cultural and economic hub in the city — most of the businesses many of us regularly frequent is on it. And the complex nature of digging up the oldest street in the country, to replace its ancient plumbing, is no small undertaking. No one wants local businesses paying the cost of poor planning and construction delays.
Also, consultations with downtown businesses, and organizations that represent them, revealed that business owners all need more time to plan for disruptions to deliveries, foot traffic, etc. Many retailers order stock a year in advance, for instance, and had already placed their spring 2016 stock orders.
The City’s plans for underground and streetscape design work will proceed as scheduled, but postponing the dig itself also happens to allow additional time for utility stakeholders to develop their detailed design work.
“By postponing the project by one year we are able to work with the downtown stakeholder community and the utilities to ensure we have plans that manage not only the construction but also contingency, marketing, and
communications,” said Dave Lane, Councillor and Chair of the City’s Economic Development, Tourism and Public Engagement Standing Committee.
“We will work with the business community to minimize the impact as much as we can to make the project successful. We all know that the infrastructure work must proceed. However, we have listened to our stakeholder community and we want to work with them as we continue with our plans.”
The project will now begin in spring of 2017, on the west end of Water Street at Waldegrave Street to Adelaide Street. It is anticipated that the project will take five years and move from west to east, on a cove by cove basis, to Prescott Street.