Small business owners on Richmond Rd. west of Westboro are fuming over city planners pushing for the western LRT line along Richmond Rd.
“We sell a rather delicate, fragile commodity. If you take away access to our store, people won’t come in here. We’ll be out of business,” said Stained Glass Stuff owner Kevin Tappin, who lives in the neighbourhood.
Another store offers the same line of products and services “and they’re not that far from us, so if it’s a matter of driving to their store or driving through a war zone to get to our store, a construction zone … people probably would just inevitably go there,” said Tappin.
In business for 25 years, Tappin moved to his current location at Woodroffe Ave. and Richmond Rd. from Westboro 13 years ago.
City staff are recommending the Richmond route over Carling Ave. or the Sir John A. Macdonald Pkwy., billing its protection of the Byron Linear Park, the Ottawa River shoreline, and for adding two stations at Cleary and New Orchard Aves.
Early estimates peg the LRT line, connecting Tunney’s Pasture with Baseline station, at a minimum of $900 million. Nearly 2 km will run underground.
“By having this construction here, it’s going to be a disaster for all of us,” said Flowers By Maggie owner Maggie Freitas.
But the city will take steps to minimize the impact on residents and businesses, said Bay Coun. Mark Taylor.
As far as construction goes, “we are many, many years from that,” he said.
Potentially augmenting the area with new stations will allow “not just people to get on but also to get off, so it does have the potential of putting more feet on the sidewalk past your businesses,” Taylor said.
Residents can weigh in on the Richmond Underground line Thursday during a public consultation at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
“I would encourage people to come out,” said Taylor.
“This is the beginning of the consultation, not the end.”
Tappin said he won’t be going or sending his concerns to the city, calling the process “a waste of our time. The city does not listen to any of its residents, unless they’re a developer. Then they listen really well.”
The transportation committee votes on the final recommended route on June 5 and from there it will go before council.