A bridge too far?

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Storeowner frustrated with construction delays

AMHERST - Murray Scott may soon get the keys to his own grocery store.

The owner of Craig's Grocery in Amherst Shore is so upset with the continued closure of Route 366 that he's thinking of turning his business' keys over to the province's transportation minister.

A bridge too far?

AMHERST - Murray Scott may soon get the keys to his own grocery store.

The owner of Craig's Grocery in Amherst Shore is so upset with the continued closure of Route 366 that he's thinking of turning his business' keys over to the province's transportation minister.

"This is the start of the fourth week and they are no further ahead than they were three weeks ago," Tom Everill said. "It's killing my business."

Crews from Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal closed Highway 366 near Amherst Shore Provincial Park several weeks ago to replace an old wooden culvert with a new concrete one.

What was supposed to take just a couple of weeks is extending into its fourth week with no end in sight.

Because of the closure, motorists are forced to take a 15-km detour along the Chapman Settlement and Mudcreek roads to the Lower Shinimicas Road and into Northport. Everill said the barricade on the Lornville side of his business is keeping potential customers from coming to his store while the culvert work is keeping customers away on the Northport side.

"I've called Mr. Scott but he hasn't seen fit to call me back," he said. "I'm thinking of giving him the keys and saying you own it now. I know the bank's not going to help and the power company's not going to say it's okay, you don't have to pay your $2,300 power bill because you're not doing any business."

Everill said he built the business from a $60,000 a year operation to a $600,000 one, but it's all in danger of drying up because people can't get to his store, restaurant and liquor outlet.

Customer Darryl Hargreaves has seen a notable difference in traffic since the culvert work began.

"It used to be that when I would come in here there'd be three or four cars and when I left there'd be three or four more cars coming in. Now, I'm the only customer. I don't mind driving a little distance to help him out, but a lot of people wouldn't do that," Hargreaves said. "You're talking about a man's livelihood."

Everill employs eight to 10 people during peak periods and he's not sure if he'll be able to stay in business long enough to call them back to work next summer.

When the project to replace the culvert at Annabelle's Brook started, Everill was told it would take two weeks. However, as the project continues on with no end in sight, no one is giving the Amherst Shore shopkeeper any updates.

"They just keep digging," he said. "They are no closer to finishing this and meanwhile my business is just drying up. I may as well just give the keys to the bank."

Reached for comment last night, Scott said he's not aware of any concerns with the project but said he would get to the bottom of it.

dcole@amherstdaily.com



Geographic location: Amherst Shore, Northport, Amherst Shore Provincial Park Chapman Settlement Lower Shinimicas Road

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  • Allison
    January 18, 2010 - 11:11

    We feel the same way. The project started later than it was supposed and now it is taking much longer. For Halloween trick or treating we have to change our route. This has also affected the school bus as there are houses on one side of the bridge that the bus has to stop at. Then it has to turn around an backtrack to get to the school. A major inconvenience for a small community.
    Sure the price of gas is going down but if we have to keep taking the detour it does not matter the price of gas.

  • Dan
    January 18, 2010 - 10:50

    Hey Murray, I'll come work for ya if you get the keys to the store. I sooner have a safe road to drive on rather than fall through the old colvert. Some people just have nothing better to do than wine. What would happen if the road wasn't being repaired. Normally this store is closed in the Fall and Winter.

  • Allison
    January 18, 2010 - 10:36

    Dan, I was not wining if you were referring to me. Obviously you so do not understand how inconvenient it is to have to travel the detour. Its not just to the store, its to school, to families houses. The store has been open year round for some time now and both residents ans the owners have every right to be upset about a project that was scheduled for 2 weeks and will take much longer.