Shelbourne Plaza business owners frustrated, face losses as summer road closures loom

Shelbourne Plaza business owners frustrated, face losses as summer road closures loom

After enduring almost two years of constant construction, businesses along Saanich’s Shelbourne Street are staring down another summer of closures and another two years of roadwork, at least.

The district is in the midst of huge upgrades to its water mains, sewers, drains and new bike lanes. There have already been road closures, but the district says more will come this summer.

“It’s awful,” said Marilyn, who has to frequent the Shelbourne Plaza often for vet treatment for her elderly dog. “And it’s gonna get worse!”

Starting Tuesday, June 18 until July 1, Shelbourne Street southbound between Cedar Hill Cross and North Dairy Road will be closed to traffic.

From July 2 onwards, that same stretch of Shelbourne will be fully closed in both directions 24/7.

“I didn’t think they’d be shutting down the whole road the whole summer, for two summers in a row,” said Daniel Broadband, owner of Mac’s Cycle, who says he found out about the summer road closures to come on the news last night.

Not only are business owners frustrated that they seem the last to know, Broadband says the constant construction is leading to losses.

“Obviously with the road closed, and people have been detouring around Shelbourne for a year now, there’s definitely been a dip in the business,” said Broadband.

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At Wild Birds Unlimited, their customers have been faithful through the roadwork, but not without significant stress.

“They come hell or high water, bless them,” said Jayme Collier with Wild Birds Unlimited. “Customers are really frustrated. We get phone calls, a lot of our customers are elderly, so driving is stressful to begin with. So we get a lot of phone calls ‘how do we get down to your place?’ We’ve gotten quite good at directing people on the detours. It’s been frustrating for all of us for sure.”

In a press release, the district asked for patience and understanding as the work is underway.

When this phase of the project is complete, phase three – which runs along Shelbourne Street between Garnet Road and Pear Street – will begin in December until “late 2026.”

Leaving businesses owners at Shelbourne Plaza, stuck in the middle of the construction, nothing else to do but roll with at least another two years of construction chaos on Shelbourne Street.

“The final budget is not yet calculated as phase three is out to tender now,” said a Kelsie McLeod, a spokesperson with the District of Saanich.

SEE PREVIOUS: ‘A mess’: Shelbourne Street construction frustrates motorists

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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