City Postponing Water Street Dig till 2017

The City of St. John’s announced today that it'll postpone the start of the water street infrastructure replacement project to spring 2017. And they've got a few reason why.

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.

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  • One of the downtown business owner’s biggest issues was with the timing of this dig – business owners unanimously wanted it to take place in the winter, so as to preserve the vital tourist season. It would appear that this consideration was ignored.

    • Plenty of time to do it late winter, spring, and fall, for sure. 2017 is projected to be a particularly good year for tourism. That’s a shame, timing wise.

    • Hey Bob,

      It wasn’t ignored; it’s not a viable option due to the unpredictability and intensity of the weather during winter. It could cause many more problems than it would solve.

      We are exploring the “shoulder” periods, though (i.e., work April – June 15 and then stop until Labour Day so the busy season can go on unimpeded). It’s just an idea for consideration, but everything’s on the table.

      Any case, this extra year will give us time to hash out all the ideas with you.


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