City delays York St closure because of ‘misinformation’ and ‘confusion.’
OTTAWA -- There is confusion among some business owners on York Street.
Many feel out of the loop.
“I haven’t heard anything,” says Anindya Choudhury, owner of York Street Spa.
Starting Saturday, the northern side of York street was set to close from Market Square to Sussex.
However, on Friday the city councillor for the area told CTV News the city has decided to delay the closure.
“The closure of York St will not happen on July 4th because of the confusion,” said Mathieu Fleury.
Mayor of Ottawa Jim Watson made the announcement on June 24.
“As of July 4th, Clarence St. in the ByWard Market will be closed from William to Dalhousie, enabling many restaurants to expand their patios well into the street," Watson said.
A portion of the on-street parking near the OTTAWA sign on York St. was to be converted to patio space.
"These closures will be in effect from July 4 for the rest of the patio season, allowing local businesses to safely accommodate more customers, while respecting physical distancing," the mayor tweeted.
The businesses affected by the closure met last Friday.
Instead of deciding how to implement the closure, they came up with a new plan.
“We simply realized that our prime business hours were not the same anyway,” said Cynthia Ryan, owner of Masala Jewelry.
Bar, restaurants, and retailers reached a unanimous, happy medium.
They agreed on keeping York St open during the day to help retailers draw in customers with parking and to close the stretch of road at night to support patios.
“We were fine with that idea, that is what I was told was the decision last Friday,” said Choudhury.
However, Fleury said that was never a possibility.
“That wasn’t in the books for us. We can’t open and close a street in the same day,” he said.
In an e-mail sent out to members, Fleury wrote, “I can now confirm that this approach was considered by the City and due to logistics (safety, set up, tear down, insurance, responsibility), the City cannot proceed with recommending this daily afternoon closure option.”
“Members re-voted on that today and decided to proceed with the closure,” he told CTV News.
The closure had a 13:3 vote of support.
For those who will be awarded with extra space, the decision is welcome news.
For retailers losing temporary such as York Spa, it will be destructive.
“It will be a devastating blow.”