Some Barrie business owners at the 304 Dunlop Street Village Plaza are preparing for possible eviction and demolition.
“How will I survive? I have a kid in college,” asked Bal Sandhu, the owner of the Mr. Sub on Dunlop Street.
The business owners are desperately looking for answers as progress on the Highway 400 expansion brings uncertainty closer to their doors. The province issued expropriation notices, but the date for vacating the premises was missing.
With no official word on what exactly is happening, business owners, like Dana Browne, are at a bit of a loss. “I was kind of confused why I was hearing it from a fellow tenant, and not hearing it from, you know, the city, or Ministry of Transportation, or even the landlord of this building.”
The City of Barrie’s has released new renderings of the Highway 400 expansion that shows it widening to five lanes each way, with new on and off ramps that take up the space of the existing plaza – the same plaza that currently houses multiple businesses.
The city has also decided to expand Dunlop Street West from Ferndale to Anne Street at the same time, saying it’s the most efficient way to deliver the massive project.
According to the city’s renderings, Cedar Pointe Drive will be moved slightly west, taking up the parking lot at the Cedar Pointe business park.
Browne says she’s started looking for new locations for her Ruby Tattoo studio. “The only detail that we really have is that it’s happening, and we have a diagram of a plan that it’s happening,” she says. “We don’t know when. We’ve never been given a timeline.”
The Ministry of Transportation tells CTV News that the construction date at this point is unknown since the project is still in the early stages. A representative with the MTO also said the ministry is in talks with those affected. “The ministry is currently negotiating with all impacted property owners on an amicable basis; however, correspondence between the ministry and specific property owners/tenants is confidential and cannot be provided due to privacy. If agreements cannot be reached, the ministry will look at next steps.”
Sandhu insists he’s in the dark, saying surveyors with the MTO recently visited his shop. “I don’t know what they were doing, they were checking the dimensions of this place, but they didn’t tell us anything, like why they were here.”