Do Businesses & People Know About the LRT in Mississauga?

Despite hiccups, grumbling, funding debates (now resolved) and massive uncertainty in Brampton, Mississauga's portion of the proposed Hurontario-Main LRT is a go.

The controversial but ambitious transit project, set to take shape down the bustling Hurontario corridor from Lakeshore in Mississauga to somewhere (maybe?) in Brampton, is going to present both challenges and opportunities.

At this juncture, it looks the city will be spared egregious expenses due to a full funding commitment from the province. It also looks like the ongoing debate in Brampton (the city's council voted to reject provincial funding and is holding out for a different, yet-to-be decided route entirely) isn't going to sidetrack Metrolinx's project in our neck of the woods.

While construction isn't imminent, it is -- as far as we know -- coming. It's also coming to an already crowded and congested region (which makes sense, as there's no point in building a relief line on a quiet rural road).

You can see the route here.

While it's been clear for some time that major cities (Mississauga in particular) are in need of transportation facelifts, some taxpayers remain steadfast in their opposition to the trains. Brampton has been awash in debate, with citizen coalitions clashing with city councillors and iPetitions popping up in support of the currently dismantled project. People have also petitioned proposed trains in the Kitchener/Cambridge/Waterloo regions.

While we know some Mississauga residents are certainly opposed, we tried to find out what small business owners who operate shops and restaurants along the corridor thought.

Not surprisingly, the lion's share of the people we called and emailed were unaware of or simply not focused on the train.

"I've never heard of it," Frankie Kot, the operator of Heart Sushi, told us over the phone. "I don't know anything about it."

He wasn't alone.

We chatted with the staff at Burrito Boyz and they, too, were unaware a train was coming. Other local owners could not be reached for comment or did not respond to our inquiries before press time.

We also reached out to the city and are awaiting a more in-depth response to the question "what do those who will be most affected think?"

Despite rigorous debate in the media, it seems that awareness hasn't trickled down to the average resident and that's not surprising. The day to day grind of operating a business is a difficult one. When you're focused on serving the neighbourhood, paying staff and maintaining a top-notch food or retail spot, you don't always have time to focus on major projects or developments that feel light years away.

After all, the plan is only on paper -- no one has broken ground yet.

But, if all goes according to plan, the LRT is coming. It will present some opportunities for local businesses -- namely increased human traffic. For residents, it could also mean boosted property values.

That said, the construction process will be difficult. It won't present an insurmountable challenge (businesses along Highway 7 in Markham and Richmond Hill survived the tremendous upheaval created by Viva construction), but the traffic disruption, noise and general chaos will be formidable.

Are small businesses prepared? Or is the project simply not top of mind yet?

Do you operate a small business along the Hurontario corridor? How do you feel?

Share your thoughts with us.


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