Local businesses worried Eglinton Crosstown LRT construction will destroy livelihoods

For almost a decade the owners of Joy Nails & Spa, at Avenue and Eglinton, have worked to establish a solid clientele.

Now they are facing an unexpected hurdle, in the form of an almost 2.5 metre fence Metrolinx is planning to erect along a section of the north side of Eglinton Avenue for construction of the Crosstown line.

The fence would effectively block off area-businesses from the road.

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READ MORE: Metrolinx finalizes station names for Eglinton Crosstown LRT

“It’s a very big problem and lot of damage for my business and my neighbours too,” said Michael Kim, co-owner of the nail salon.

Once the fence is up, there will be a dead end. The north sidewalk will end about a block east of Avenue Road where a station entrance is being constructed.

That means that even if someone managed to find a parking spot close by, they may still be in a for a circuitous walk to get to their destination.

The businesses have been told the fence could be up for as long as four years.

READ MORE: Eglinton Crosstown LRT delayed by one year until 2021

“Every business can survive a short period of time of disruption but this is an exceptionally long period of construction,” said Maureen Sirois, chair of the The Eglinton Way BIA.

“So what we are asking for is a reduction in the size of the site of the construction zone, the footprint.”

But Metrolinx said the current plan is the most efficient.

“Despite having a significant impact on a few businesses, it minimizes the disruption to the overall community,” said Jamie Robinson, a spokesperson for Metrolinx.

READ MORE: Tunnel boring begins westward on Eglinton Crosstown LRT

There’s good reason to be worried according to the manager at 2001 Audio Video, which is located further east at Eglinton Avenue and Laird Drive.

“We’ve got this wall of China that’s been built, I call it, that literally blinds us from the street,” said Mike Fraziz, adding that the wall built in front of his business blocks people from seeing the store.

Add in the increased traffic around the construction zone and that means fewer customers, which means they’re looking at cutting the number of staff.

“We were doing great as a business before this,” Fraziz said.

“It was absolutely amazing, and to see it go from that high down to where we are at now, it has become very frustrating.”

Kim said he expects it will be the same for them —; frustrating and costly.

“We may lose a lot of future customers,” said Kim.

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