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Flooding forces pop-up businesses to move

One of the many roads closed because of flooding at Victoria Harbour. Photo by Logan Somers, QNet News

By Logan Somers [1]

For the past couple of weeks, Belleville, like much of Ontario, has faced the wrath of Mother Nature with tons of rain and ongoing flooding.

Day after day, rain has dominated the weather forecast. Now it has forced the upcoming pop-up businesses planned for Belleville to move locations.

Four businesses, Doug’s Bicycle, Golden Scoops Ice Cream, Brick Oven Pizza and Cruisin’ Canoes planned to place their pop-up shops at Victoria Park, however, Mother Nature had different plans. After days of rain, Victoria Harbour’s water levels have continued to rise, causing water to cover roads and streets to be blocked.

“As of Friday our emergency management team for the city issued a closure to Victoria Park and Victoria Harbour. Outside of allowing just local boat traffic in,” said Elisha Purchase, development and tourism assistant for the City of Belleville.

Purchase added that in early May, the vendors, staff and partners involved in the project all sat down as a team to discuss a contingency plan.

“Knowing that this could be a possibility that we could have to leave the site, given the projections that conservation was providing about high water, it was agreed by the team that if in fact we were told that we had to move off the water that we would relocate to West Riverside Park,” she said.

Purchase said West Riverside Park has great benefits for the businesses and all the amenities that are required, but said that “the biggest downfall of that site that we determined during our contingency planning was that we couldn’t accommodate one of our vendors, Cruisin’ Canoes, given the fact that he requires safe water access.”

Tyler Allsopp, co-owner of Doug’s Bicycle, said the move to West Riverside Park may be better than the previous location.

Tyler Allsopp, co-owner of Doug’s Bicycle, preparing to set up his pop-up shop this summer. Photo by Logan Somers, QNet News

“For my business, I think we’re actually going to have greater opportunity because there’s already some cycling infrastructure in that area.”

Asked about the new location for the other vendors Allsopp said, “the big news is that Cruisin’ Canoes unfortunately had to pull out because there wasn’t a contingency plan in place that would allow for them to continue with their water sport rentals.”

“But I think for the Golden Scoops, which is Jackie Jarrell’s business and then Brick Oven Pizza truck company which is David Pickett’s business I think the new location actually probably provides better traffic flow for them and they’re likely going to have more success in this location than the previous location, but we’ll find out as the summer progresses.”

The pop-up businesses plan to open June 7, and Purchase said they will be happening again next summer.