I am very excited that the Argyle renovation is finally happening, though I understand the concerns folks have about the potential impact on local business.
The proposal to renovate Argyle came from the business community, coming from a process that lead to this document in Feb 2012. Funding was approved in 2013 and this specific project was approved by Council in April 2016.
The business community has been involved with the development and timing of this for two years, through the business commission, one on one meetings with key stakeholders (Neptune, etc) and businesses. A webpage has kept stakeholders and residents up to date.
EDIT I personally hand delivered a notices with the process and contact info to all affected street level businesses on April 28, 2016, right after Council voted to approve funding.
There have been three meetings with stakeholders including local retail and restaurants – February 1, 2016; May 17, 2016, and Mar 30, 2017.
After the feedback from the May 2016 meeting and because of business feedback it was decided to build in spring/summer rather than late summer/winter, because what we heard from the businesses was that August/Sept/Oct was the busiest tourism and patio season.
Businesses have had the opportunity to have input into the broad plan for 5 years, and the details of the construction plan for three years, and for anyone to suggest that businesses have not had an opportunity to speak their mind is simply not true.
HRM stated at that time that it would try and have the work done in late July, but in that meeting it was also said that the length of construction might be longer than 12-14 weeks. We now know the whole project may take 17 weeks.
In the meeting last week it was revealed that the tender package is going out 4 weeks late, which also pushes the project a little farther into late summer. This is really unfortunate and I am frustrated because some of the demolition and survey could have happened in the spring, though the construction itself was always going to have to take place in the summer. I am working with Mayor Savage’s office to try and get the tender awarded late April/early May so we can get back 2-3 weeks of late summer.
The same construction management team that did Spring Garden and Barrington upgrades last year will be running Argyle. Pedestrian access to the businesses will be maintained at all times, and the impacts minimized as much as possible. HRM had a lot of good results with those two projects last summer, I had almost no complaints at all, and I am confident that this will be handled similarly with the same level of care and professionalism.
In that meeting last week it was also stated repeatedly that the restaurants can apply for the new annual license and that as soon as the construction is done in September they can put their patios out. So the reporting that 2017 patio season is cancelled is also not completely true.
My hope is that we get the tender approved by Council ASAP (late April or early May) and that we can get the patios back out late August/early September on most if not all of the street.