Chamber wants to reassure Rossland businesses

Rossland businesses are concerned with the city’s downtown renovation plans of Columbia Avenue and Washington Street.

Rossland businesses are concerned with the city’s downtown renovation plans. The renovations will renew the aging infrastructure of Columbia Avenue and Washington Street.

The biggest concern to businesses is that there is little information to what extent the construction will affect them, since the city is still waiting for a report back from the contractor, ISL.

The Rossland Chamber of Commerce has been holding informal meetings with concerned businesses to try and clear up the confusion.

Renee Clark, executive director at the chamber, said the lack of information has businesses worried about things like timelines.

“They want it to be as condensed as possible and limit the amount of time needed for the construction, so that they can have accessibility,” Clark said. “You know, a normal looking business, not some dusty street, with trucks and construction crews. They want this project to go as quickly as possible.”

There are concerns about parking around businesses during construction, as well as the layout after construction.

“That’s a big concern, especially for the essential services, like the doctor offices, Ferraro Foods, the pharmacy, the post office, who need to have access maintained or try to avoid having people park way down the block,” she said. “A lot of them deal with the elderly who are not as mobile.”

Businesses also would like to know about is the timeline since each has different high market times, Clark added.

A plan was presented to council in June, which Clark said worried some businesses.

“There was a bit of a figure that was thrown out there and I think it posed a lot of   concern for residents and businesses, because it was a pretty high figure,” she said. “The scope and reality seems like it’s going to be far less than that; down to what we need to make our town beautiful and viable for the long term.”

A presentation at the Oct. 10 city council meeting will likely give more details. Clark speculated that it would include traffic calming measures, since there is a lot of concern about noise from big trucks.

“In the plan there are lots of bump out curves on every corner, so pedestrians can cross from one corner to the next in a shorter distance,” she said. “But that’s just phase one. It all depends on money and other factors.”

The city will consult with the community and the businesses, especially the downtown merchants, later on in October or November.

“I don’t think they’re going to be quick in acting on their own. They’re certainly going to be working and listening to everyone in the community,” she added.

The Rossland Chamber of Commerce is a business association.

Businesses buy into the membership and part of the chamber’s mandate is to advocate for and promote the local business community. They also work on economic development in the community.

“Working as a collective group certainly has more power than working alone,” Clark said. “We want to work with the city and the businesses to make this as easy as possible for everybody. My door is always open to talk with concerned businesses and the community.”