CORNWALL, Ontario – The Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey of downtown businesses in Cornwall along Pitt St. between First and Third streets.
The goal of the survey was to get feedback on an idea that Cornwall City Councillor Eric Bergeron proposed at a council meeting on May 11 to open Pitt St. to pedestrian traffic and providing more space for restaurants by allowing them to expand onto the street.
Bergeron requested a report from city administration on the possibility of closing the street to cars from First St. to Third St. or from First St. to Second St.
The goal of the proposal was to ease social distancing requirements for businesses like restaurants as the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown eases.
“I put these motions forward to see what we can do as a council to help our economy,” Bergeron said at the Council meeting. “Social distancing will be with us for awhile. Restaurants are going to be affected at least until Labour Day.”
The Chamber received 41 responses from downtown businesses to their survey. Of the responses, 12 per cent said that they would be in favour of closing Pitt St. between First and Third streets, 20 per cent were in favour of closing the street between First and Second streets and 14 per cent said they were in favour of reducing traffic lanes.
“It is critically important to garner feedback from our business merchants,” said Shannon Lebrun, President of the Chamber. “They’re the economic engines of our city and their feedback allows us to shape our recommendations to the City.”
Another option that businesses were asked to consider were pop-up patios on sidewalk areas and nearly half, 46 per cent said that they were interested in seeing the processes for applying for a pop-up patio through the city streamlined to make it a more appealing prospect.