Dundas Place work will kick off next week

By the end of this summer, Jonny Ngai could be a household name in London.

That’s because Ngai’s summer job is going to be giving Londoners online updates on the progress of construction on Dundas Street, scheduled to kick off April 10.

“He’ll be our construction man on the street,” said Jim Yanchula, who is in charge of downtown projects for the city.

Turning Dundas Street into Dundas Place – the largest single infrastructure project in the core in the city’s history – is as much an exercise in communcation as it is in construction. To that end, the city held a briefing Thursday to show journalists the ways city hall intends to keep Londoners informed about how work is progressing - writes lfpress.com

“It is my role to share construction updates to keep our community up to date throughout this journey,” Ngai says in a statement on dundasplace.ca , which has replaced mydundas.ca .

The work is expected to wrap up Oct. 30, Yanchula said. “We have to have the asterisk because we don’t control the universe,” although planners have tried to make allowances for bumps in the road, he said.

“It’s definitely going to be trying,” said Kayla Gibbens, the owner of Uber Cool Stuff, of the months of work to come, which is supposed to turn Dundas into, in Yanchula’s words, “the core of the core.”

Gibbens’ said “it’s hard to estimate” how much business could suffer because of the construction. “We have to rely on the community hopefully to support us.”

She’s hoping the fact that her store fronts on Dundas and backs onto Carling Street will help. “We’re getting pretty good cut-through traffic,” she said, adding it’s a case of short-term pain for long-term gain.

There will be signage on the street telling pedestrians and drivers that businesses between Ridout and Clarence streets will remain open for the duration of construction.

“We’re not closing down shop,” Gibbens said.

According to Yanchula, the city will try to keep shop and restaurant owners connected to the latest news and will help where they can.

“We will be having window-washing, for example,” he said.

“We’re committed to communication. We want to be held accountable,” Yanchula said.

Janette MacDonald of Downtown London said core business owners are “excited” about the project “because they’re going to have the best street in the city.”

That was a theme Yanchula echoed, saying Dundas Place will be “the most exciting” street in the Forest City.

“The disruption will be shared and the fun will be shared” when Dundas Place is complete, Yanchula said.

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