Merchants Complain About Street Closure

Urban Air North has brought Urban Camping to Downtown Collingwood.

However, not everyone is extending a warm welcome.

Parking has been eliminated from Hurontario Street between Second and Third Streets

Downtown Merchant Says Street Closures Creating Negative Impact On Business

Scott Hunermund, the owner of At Home Interiors in downtown Collingwood, says he was not informed of the event until the night prior to the trailers arriving on the main street.

“I came into work on Thursday to find two blocks fo the main street blocked off and those spaces filled with Air Stream trailers. To make matters worse the street will be closed off to parking for customers until Sunday.”

Hunermund told that the matter has been made worse because the trailer owners are using off-street parking lots to park their cars and trucks. He said this event has taken away too much parking for prospective customers.

He said this has been an ongoing trend this summer, pointing to the antique car rally of a few weeks ago that also took away downtown parking on Hurontario Street.

“Retail is not easy, it has been an extremely hot summer, online shopping is taking its toll on the retail landscape, the political climate world-wide is very uncertain and therefore making people quite nervous about the fragile nature of the economy.”

Hunermund is concerned that the Downtown Collingwood Business Improvement Area continues to plan special events that stand in the way of customers getting to the stores.

He said his business was down 75 percent for the three days of the Collingwood Elvis Festival and down 70 percent during the Saturday of the recent Classic Car event.

He has asked the BIA and Town to provide an answer as to who is paying for the hydro the trailers are using.

“Who is going to reimburse the businesses for Loss Of Business due to these poorly thought out, poorly planned and unannounced events?”

It is interesting to note that this large event is not listed on the Town or BIA’s web sites.

Quick conversations with a handful of downtown merchants provided the same answer, that merchants were not made aware of the arrival of the trailers until thte night before the event began.

Many events held in the downtown core are not initiated nor executed by the BIA

Penny Skelton is the Chair of the Collingwood Downtown Business Improvement Association.

She points out that events and road closures are two different issues.

“Special Events and downtown road closures are two peas in a pod. The BIA plans and executes several special events throughout the year and are very careful when planning events which require street closures that the business community is fully aware, That said, we do not own the street, we are stewards of events which draw people into the downtown core. Our goal is always to improve walking traffic by all the storefronts.”

Skelton pointed out many events held in the downtown core are not initiated nor executed by the BIA.

“When this first time ever Canadian Airstream special event application was submitted to the Town ( Parks, Recreation and Culture department) the Board of the BIA reviewed and recommended several requirements:

1. directional signage to off street parking
2. traffic flow remain open down the main street – as per their application
3. must have their own power source – no major generators
4. vehicles which tow the Airstream trailers must be parked at the YMCA

The marketing opportunity of a first ever event in Canada had such potential , the board was supportive if all their recommendations were adopted.”

The event continues in downtown Collingwood until Sunday.

CLICK HERE to read the full letter from Scott Hunermund

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