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Downtown block to close 14 weeks for building construction project

The Brock Street closure starts Wednesday and lasts 14 weeks. So far, no one's told the neighbours
Brock Street closure
Drawing shows proposed access to St. Luke’s Cathedral and Social Services parking lots

City councillors agreed tonight to close most of Brock Street between Albert and Wellington for 14 weeks.

Closure of the block next to St. Luke's Anglican Cathedral has been forced by problems at the construction site across the street where a new $16-million Social Services headquarters is being built.  

The unexpected road closure starts Wednesday, and will come as a surprise to downtown neighbours.

"Social Services (Ontario Works, Early Years and Housing) is constructing a new building on the west side of Brock Street between Albert Street East and Wellington Street East. This will amalgamate offices and centralize its operations," says Carl Rumiel, the city's manager of design and transportation engineering.

"Construction of the new Social Services building on Brock Street is being impacted by lack of available space for material and equipment storage, as well as the offloading of trucks. This has caused a significant amount of traffic congestion during business hours, has potential to delay the project, and has created a potentially dangerous traffic situation," Rumiel says.

"Additionally, the Ministry of Labour has directed the contractor to bring another site trailer and a further washroom trailer to the site to meet their COVID-19 requirements, which will cause further congestion on the site spilling over to Brock Street, potentially creating unsafe flow of traffic."

The contractor, Matheson Constructors Ltd., will now fence off Brock Street from Albert to the northerly lane-way adjacent to 181 Albert, until June 1.

"Access will be maintained for local traffic only," Rumiel says.

A drawing prepared for city council, shown above, shows access to the cathedral's parking lot from Wellington Street.

"Have staff contacted businesses, residents around the area regarding this?" Ward 4 Coun. Marchy Bruni asked Rumiel.

"No," Rumiel replied. "That will be the responsibility of the [Social Services] employees and the general contractor."

"Will you follow up with them, that they will do this?" Bruni asked.

"I will for sure," Rumiel said. "There is a list of things they have to do ahead of the closure happening."

"There are some steps they have to jump through over the next few days."

"One of them, I'll notify them that the residents and businesses are taken care of."

Other downtown news from Tuesday night's meeting:

  • councillors voted to give Stone's Office Supplies part of the Bingham Street municipal parking lot, in exchange for land the city needs to build the downtown plaza
  • up to $260,000 was allocated for architectural and engineering services for the new Mill Market at 73 Brock Street, the former Union Cab building


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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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