Businesses welcome news that scope of excavation works for the NBN roll-out on The Boulevarde, Toronto, have been scaled back

PROGRESS: Work will start this Sunday night on the installation of the NBN along The Boulevarde, Toronto, although the excavations won't be as extensive as first thought. Picture: David Stewart
PROGRESS: Work will start this Sunday night on the installation of the NBN along The Boulevarde, Toronto, although the excavations won't be as extensive as first thought. Picture: David Stewart

TORONTO business owners have shared a collective sigh of relief.

It turns out the excavation works needed to facilitate the roll-out of the National Broadband Network (NBN) along The Boulevarde won't be as extensive as first feared.

Businesses took a hit while Lake Macquarie City Council completed its $4 million upgrade of the town's main street in 2018.

The Boulevarde resembled a construction zone during that work, and restaurants and cafes, in particular, felt the impacts hard.

So when news broke in May that the street would be dug up - again - so that the NBN could be rolled out, businesses weren't happy.

But council reported this week a redesign of the NBN roll-out had enabled a "reduction to the scope of excavation works".

The redesign meant the impact on business owners, the community, and the street upgrade would be reduced, the council said.

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Council's built and natural assets director David Hughes said it was "a great outcome" for the Toronto community and council.

"Overall it means less disruption for the whole community and the many businesses that operate along the The Boulevarde," Mr Hughes said.

"The redesign has significantly reduced the excavation required down to 14 small locations, which means less repair work will be needed to return the site back to its high-quality standard."

NBN contractor, Visionstream, will begin night-time excavation works on The Boulevarde this Sunday.

To minimise impact on pedestrians, Visionstream will use temporary rapid-set concrete to allow for foot traffic the following morning.

Owner of the cafe Cleaver, Jack Sheen, welcomed the news.

"I'm relieved for myself, but mostly for the other businesses here," he said.

Being an indoor business, Cleaver would not be impacted by the excavations as much as the eateries with outdoor dining areas, he said.

Mr Sheen has owned and operated cafes in several towns and cities, and said the council's work to upgrade the street was "genuinely impressive".

"But streets like this are quite delicate little eco-systems," he said.

Businesses had done "an amazing job to bounce back" from the disruption of the council's street works, he said. "But streets like this can only take so much."

LJ Hooker Toronto CEO Paul Campbell, whose family has been in business in the town since 1952, said feedback on the street upgrade had "all been very positive".

He said installation of the NBN was a natural progression for Toronto, but he hoped disruption to business would be minimised.

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