Borden-Carleton is preparing to welcome the rest of Atlantic Canada back to P.E.I. and the town's CAO, James Wentzell, says he hopes it brings a boost to businesses in the area.
The province began construction on a massive parking area in Borden-Carleton for when partially or fully vaccinated Atlantic Canadians are welcomed back to the province on June 27. The area will be used for visitors to park as they await a rapid COVID-19 test result.
While the municipality won't be taking part in the construction of the 18-lane parking lot, the province did consult with the town, said Wentzell.
"We've been asking actually for a while now that the residential traffic be directed through the town to Gateway Village to help out the businesses who have been hurting for the last year-and-a-half," he said.
While residential traffic will roll through town, commercial traffic will continue to bypass it and be tested at the clinic in the area, Wentzell said.
While the plan was only announced Thursday, Wentzell said business owners in the area are excited.
"Certainly the business community is welcoming it," he said. "It's a positive buzz for all around."
Some businesses in the area plan to open up just a week before those from across Atlantic Canada are welcomed back to the province, Wentzell said.
"We look at it as also the opportunity for more people to get to know Borden-Carleton. We have parks, we have playgrounds," he said.
He hasn't been hearing about many worries from people in the area because of the plan in place to test everyone entering the province for COVID-19, he said.
"I think it's a first step. It's a big step," Wentzell said.
Jared Murphy is the co-owner of Lone Oak Brewing, a local business. He was excited to hear people from out of province would soon be welcomed back.
"I think, you know, everyone is excited. It gives us all hope and something to look forward to," he said. "I know last year the bubble opening made a huge difference for us here."
Murphy said traffic being directed through Gateway Village will help all local businesses.
"The exposure alone, you know, is worth a lot for us and we're excited to see that happen."
Murphy said he is optimistic and his business is ready to welcome visitors from all around Atlantic Canada.
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