Bad for business

Nearby road and utility construction for city-backed project takes a bite out of Cloverdale donair shop’s bottom line.

Aziz Hamo of Shannon Donair says business has plunged since road and siteworks for the Cloverdale West Village project began.

A months-long roadworks and utilities project at Cloverdale West Village is creating a big headache for the owner of a local donair shop.

Aziz Hamo of Shannon Donair at 17581 57 Avenue says business has dropped in half in the past few weeks, as customers stay away.

“The construction keeps people away from the area and sometimes blocks the road,” he said. “It’s affected my business.”

There’s also less available parking, says Hamo, who adds he wouldn’t be worried if the interruption was only going to last a few days, but nearby businesses were warned in July the project will last upwards of six months.

The site of the former Cloverdale Mall is being developed for a multi-phase residential and retail project spearheaded by the Surrey City Development Corporation and Townline Housing Solutions, in collaboration with the Cloverdale Legion on phase one.

Offsite roadworks on 57 Avenue began early last month, introducing heavy machinery, flagging crews and giant pylons that have been placed on the north side of the road between 175 Street and the Cloverdale bypass.

The pylons are needed to prevent people from wandering onto the work site, according to project manager Pat Bickerton of B&B Contracting, the company creating new roads, sidewalks and utilities infrastructure so the long-awaited Cloverdale West Village project can get started in 2014.

“The road isn’t blocked. The road has been open to traffic,” Bickerton said, adding there are no plans to shut down any roads while work progresses. When contacted by The Reporter, Bickerton had not spoken with Hamo, however he would be willing to do so.

However, he suspected the matter would be more appropriately addressed by City Hall.

The project is on schedule, meaning there may be no immediate relief for Hamo.

The married father of two girls fears he won’t be able to pay his bills if the disruption continues. “I want to know who’s going to cover what I’m losing this month,” he said.

Hamo spent eight months and about $25,000 on renovations before opening Shannon Donair in August 2011. Before that, he worked as a delivery person for Aaron’s Restaurant, saving up for a business of his own.

He’d like financial compensation for his lost business, but doesn’t know where to turn. “I hope the city will do something.”

Amanda Silvers, City of Surrey spokesperson, says there is no mechanism to compensate business owners who are disrupted by city infrastructure projects because those projects are presumed to benefit all.

“At any time when we do infrastructure, the improvements are for all residents. It’s benefiting the entire city” including businesses that are temporarily affected by the work, she said.

In Cloverdale, Hamo isn’t the only business owner complaining about the project, particularly about the lack of parking as a result.

“Yes, there is a real issue,” said Paul Orazietti, executive director of the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association, describing Hamo’s concerns as “totally legitimate.”

Construction and lack of parking is enough to keep people from driving into the historic town centre, Orazietti said.

“People are impatient, and they have a predisposition to not stopping because the area is packed,” he said.

“It is disruptive,” Orazietti said.

“Is there legal recourse? Not that I’m aware of.”

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