Loading articles...

College Street businesses brace for return of construction

Last Updated Jun 17, 2017 at 7:03 pm EDT

Business owners on College Street are on edge as the city prepares to resume a construction project delayed by the previous contractor.

On Monday, crews will start setting up fencing for the project — to be done in phases from Havelock Street to Shaw.

If all goes according to plan, the streetscape will have new sidewalks, parkettes, bike rings, trees and light fixtures by mid-October, and crews will have fixed the problems from last summer’s work.

“Last year, the construction that was going on on College — the way that it was undertaken by the contractor — was just a disaster,” said Coun. Mike Layton.

“We had people unable to get into their homes and businesses consistently, with no warning, when work was going to be done in front of establishments.

“I think people understand there’s going to be some disruption when you’re trying to do major construction, but the problem is you need to inform them, and it needs to be reasonable.”

Map of work area

Map of the work area for the College Street streetscape improvements from Havelock Street to Shaw Street. CITY OF TORONTO
Map of the work area for the College Street streetscape improvements from Havelock Street to Shaw Street. CITY OF TORONTO

Four Seasons Site Development had originally won the contract for the $3.4-million joint venture between the city and the local BIA.

But as of Oct. 8, when the work was supposed to be done, the south side of the street remained untouched and the north side was only 90-per-cent finished.

Brass Taps co-owner David Latham said 2016 was the bar’s worst year for business in its 27 years on College Street.

“We’re going to suffer again, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “I don’t know how it’s going to pan out this year … It will be bad — I don’t know how bad.

“There‘s two or three business have left already, and it could happen again. This area is up-and-coming and improving, but this is not helping us.”

The city fired Four Seasons for “non-adherence to contract,” and ordered a three-year ban on bids from the company. This year, the city will be using CRCE Construction Ltd. instead.

“It’s work that has to be done, and it will make the street much more beautiful,” Layton said. “We hope we’ve learned from our mistakes in the last contract … that we can move forward in a much more efficient way.”

Last year, Mayor John Tory said Four Seasons had been involved in “other incidents” before it won the College Street contract.

The company also worked on the revitalization of Bloor Street and Nathan Philips Square.

The project is due to wrap up on Oct. 13.

For more information, visit the City of Toronto website.