‘Customers won’t come back’: Marda Loop construction extended several months

Construction work in Marda Loop that has been giving headaches to local business owners for over a year is now being extended by another five or six months.

Initially, the project that stretches along 33 Avenue SW from Crowchild Trail to 19 Street SW, and from Crowchild to 18 Street SW on 34 Avenue, was expected to be finished this November — now the timeline has been pushed to next summer.

The work has been a nightmare for many local businesses, including Boogie’s Burgers, where general manager Brent de Decker says revenue has dropped significantly since the project began 14 months ago.

“This year alone we’re down between 15 and 17 per cent for our in house business,” he says. “It’s a pretty significant hit.”

READ MORE: Calgarians petition to save Marda Loop trees

De Decker says many customers have stopped coming in due to a lack of parking and constant road closures. He says the extension of construction was upsetting to hear, but he wasn’t surprised, figuring the initial timeline was “optimistic.”

Cameron Fraser is the owner of the Fraser & Fig and says he’s seen revenue drop by around 20 per cent since the road work began.

“It was so chaotic here that customers just won’t return,” he says. “Every day, every week there was different road closures, different detours.”

“There was no consistency and planned strategy.”

Much of the work along 33 Avenue is supposed to wrap up late summer 2024, but the rest of the project has been extended until summer 2025.

In March, Calgary city councillors approved a one time grant of $5,000 to businesses affected by the construction work after a number of business owners brought their concerns to Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

Bob Van Wegen, executive director of the Marda Loop business improvement area, says the grant was appreciated but won’t do enough to offset the impact of the project.

“It will be helpful in some cases, but for many businesses it’s not a large amount compared to the losses they may be enduring,” he says.

De Decker calls the grant a “drop in the bucket.”

The pilot project supports 146 businesses in Marda Loop.

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