Vernon business owner feels ‘blind-sided’ by city project

VERNON – A Vernon business owner says he was blind-sided last Thursday morning when a contractor showed up to this farm and garden centre and told him they’d be starting a road project the following Monday.

The project would cause the closure of a road that is the main artery to Briteland Holdings during the busiest time of the year for his business.

“I was horrified because this is our Christmas, this is where we make the income to survive for the next 12 months,” says Briteland Holdings owner Dave Weatherill.

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The infrastructure improvement project was originally slated for last summer. There were public consultations and Weatherill supported the idea.

However, after quotes came in over budget, the city had to put it off until this year.

For three months, 32 Avenue between 27 and 29 Streets would be closed for the project.

Other nearby businesses like Ashley Furniture and Station BBQ restaurant also told Global News they feel they weren’t given enough notice. The city admits the mistake.

“I acknowledge that we can do much better,” says Manager of Infrastructure Management for the City of Vernon, Mark Dowanhiuk.

That’s why the project has been put on hold, again.

City council will also hold a special meeting this Friday to decide whether to delay the project until this summer. The delay would come with a price tag to taxpayers of about $100,000 in penalties paid to the contractor.

“We are between a rock and a hard place. We are taxpayers in the City of Vernon. We don’t want the city to spend any more than they have to for anything,” says Weatherill.

“On the other hand, we have a business to run.”

Dowanhiuk says he’s working on other options to present to council this Friday.