ERIN ‒ The township owes the Erin Chamber of Commerce money and they want it back with interest.
While the council approved $41,000 from the Economic Development Reserve in March as a way to assist local businesses during the wastewater construction, the group claims they haven't seen a cent.
They are also asking for an additional $40,000 in the 2024 budget so they can continue assisting businesses during construction.
"The businesses in the village of Erin and Hillsburgh especially, have been affected quite negatively from the construction, and expect further losses," said the group's chair, Ann Shanahan, in a letter to council. "The Chamber of Commerce jumped into gear quickly...to drive foot traffic into both villages (but) all of this comes at a cost."
The group has invested heavily in its promotional campaigns throughout the year with the understanding that the promised funds would cover ongoing signs, wares, and events.
A two-pronged strategy: the group's first campaign, “Dig Erin," is an online portal with all information related to the construction including interactive maps, schedules, detour routes, construction notices, and real-time updates while the “Open During Construction” campaign features a green light around the 'O' for open to signify additional parking around town.
“It’s about moving forward and it’s about being positive through all this,” said Coun. Cathy Aylard, during a mayor's breakfast event earlier this year. "Our local businesses offer more than just goods and services, they are our neighbours and our friends and an essential part of our community and they need our support now more than ever.”
Construction on Erin’s $200 million wastewater plant began earlier this year and is expected to last until October 2024.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, Erin's Chamber of Commerce has rescheduled their delegation for Oct. 12.
Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.