Goodsoil businesses hurt from Hwy. 26 construction

When the project first started in June it rained for two weeks, causing a snag in the progress. Then, crews got things going again.

“Now it rained for another week here. They can’t work in the rain,” Nachbaur said.

She added it’s difficult for people to get to her business because the construction is blocking the store’s front entrance, causing customers to have to find their way to the shop through the back alleyway instead.

“People are not coming into town because of the construction,” she said. “They are driving around, taking the detour around town.”

“Of course, when you have people avoiding Goodsoil, you don’t have the tourism you normally would have.”

Nachbaur added this is the part of the year when the store usually sees the most business. While she is looking forward to the village having a new road when it is completed, she said it still does not make the process easy for businesses.

“This is the time when we make our money, so we can get through winter,” she said. “So it’s not good.”

Jody Bender, owner of The Bender Bar and Grill, is particularly frustrated with the work, saying people can’t get to her business. She added that summer is the only time when businesses make the most income in Goodsoil, a tourist spot on the way to the lake, but people are just not stopping.

“It’s absolutely terrible,” she said. “I complained to the village, I put a complaint in with the ministry [the province]and right now I’m dealing with a consulting company.”

“I’m fighting for lost revenue. For July I lost 45 percent revenue compared to the last two years in July.”

The business includes a bar, restaurant, and hotel, so it depends on the tourism season to survive. While people can drive through the back alleyway, Bender noted there is not suitable parking back there, and, moreover, there is a Do Not Enter sign in part of the alley that confuses potential customers.

“Unless you are a local who doesn’t care about that, they won’t access [the alley],” she said.

Bender is also upset about the process of the work, saying crews started construction right in the middle of the town rather than on one end, which would have made it easier for businesses.

“We’re a tiny town and there are only a few businesses, so they dug up all our businesses,” she said. “They didn’t do one side of the road and the other side. There is literally a hole in the middle of town that you can’t get around.”

As far as rain delays go, Bender said there was a lot of rain at the beginning of the project, followed by a dry period, with more recent rain. But she said the real problem is the construction work itself.

“It’s a busy town because we’re a town that lives off summer revenue, the businesses, because we’re a tourist town,” she said. “We make a lot of money in the summer and that carries us through the dead winter.”

Bender added as another issue, her suppliers can’t get to her business because of the construction.

“We have to meet our suppliers up the road to get our food supply,” she said. “It’s insane. It’s terrible… I have people asking me all the time if we’re open.”

meadowlakeNOW did not immediately hear back after attempting to contact the province and village for comment.

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