Quesnel’s downtown is about to be plunged into organized chaos, as Reid Street is ripped up and the 66-year-old water mains replaced.
It’s a necessary step to take – the thought of emergency leaks, due to rickety old valves, drowning out a local business is not a pleasant one. The city is being proactive in replacing old infrastructure before such a disaster – which would probably cause an even worse disruption to business – can strike.
No one is looking forward to a summer of construction on our downtown core, not least the businesses that line Reid Street, which face a potential lost revenue stream from the usual pedestrian traffic.
In order to help those businesses, we as a community need to commit to continuing to shop locally, braving the dust, mud and noise that will likely arise from construction. Last year’s summer wildfires had us banding together to help small businesses survive the provincial disaster, and they’ll need that support again this year, with this more local, and very necessary, disruption.
The Quesnel Downtown Association and the City of Quesnel seem to be working well together to mitigate the effects for shoppers and storefronts alike, opening up rear entrances to buildings, creating clear signage for parking and allowing construction crews to work round the clock on at least the first section of construction (spanning from Carson Avenue up to the Post Office) to get the project completed as quickly as possible.
As we well know, the construction season in the North is short. Reminders of winter are still all around us here in Quesnel (when, oh when, will it end, Mother Nature?). This month’s start to the project will hopefully kick off a smooth ride to the end, with no major problems extending work past August or so.
And the reward for our patience and perseverance despite the short-lived chaos on Reid Street?
A revamped shopping area with wider pedestrian- and wheelchair-friendly sidewalks, new lighting, and more trees to add shade and beautify the area (not to mention solid water mains we won’t need to worry about for many years to come).
The result will make our downtown shopping district even more appealing to residents and visitors alike.
And in the end, that is worth a little dust and disruption.
Quesnel Cariboo Observer