City discusses upcoming Princess St. construction

Next phase of work will target sections of Princess, King, Bagot and Wellington Streets this winter

Several downtown businesses will be affected by the upcoming reconstruction project, but all will remain open.
Several downtown businesses will be affected by the upcoming reconstruction project, but all will remain open.
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It will be out with the old and in with the new infrastructure this February when the City begins phase two of the Princess St. reconstruction.

A meeting was held early Monday morning at the Confederation Hotel to discuss the plans and the concerns of the businesses surrounding the construction area.

Phase two will include the block of King St. between Princess and Queen Streets, as well as Princess St. from King St. to Bagot St., Bagot St. between Queen and Brock Streets and the lower half of Wellington St. from Princess St. to Brock St.

In 2010, phase one of the project to reconstruct Princess St. started at the foot of the street at the Holiday Inn and went to the King St. intersection. The project then moved to the block of King St. between Princess and Brock Streets.

Zoe Yanovsky, owner of Pan Chancho Bakery and Café and Chez Piggy, said her café has been through the construction of phase one in 2010-11 and now her restaurant will be going through the construction for phase two.

“We prepared a year in advance,” she said. “We were expecting a 30 per cent drop in sales, but we did much better because we were so prepared.” She said she’s not looking forward to the upcoming reconstruction, but she understands that it’s necessary.

“Going into phase two we’re less scared of the unknown,” she said. The project, spearheaded by Utilities Kingston and Downtown Kingston!, is expected to be completed by the spring of 2014.

During the meeting, Kingston residents expressed concerns over how bus routes will be affected. For pedestrians, there will be no closures of the businesses and navigating around the construction should not be too difficult, said Rob Tamblyn, the project’s development manager.

“There will be fences up, so as long as you know where you are going you can get to your destination,” he said. “We encourage the students to come downtown.” The workers will have planned parking on the side streets to lower the already high volume of cars. Apart from that, there will be staff directing pedestrian traffic.

The money for this renovation — which will include new sidewalks, cross walks, benches and garbage disposals — comes from City Council and their capital works budget. According to the City’s website, their 2012 to 2014 capital budgets for roads, municipal utilities and strategic capital programs total $72,164,600, $57,860,000 and $48,736,000 respectively.

Reconstruction will include making changes to the underground infrastructure; the sewer and water, gas lines and hydro need to be replaced because they are beginning to erode and overflow due to the downhill nature of Princess St.

“The sewer system needs to be replaced. This will stop a lot of the flooding and we can address these issues by making it new,” Tamblyn said.

During the meeting, they discussed the pipes’ tendency to overflow and that they’ll be separating water and waste to deal with this issue.

In the previous phase, the committee looked at the effect the reconstruction had on the businesses on Princess St.; the businesses didn’t suffer as much as they had anticipated, Tamblyn said.

“[The success comes from] having a solid business plan, having good promotion, and having a team on the ground that is doing the construction who is concerned about access to the businesses.”

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