City looks to boost sinkhole-affected businesses

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The city announced initiatives Friday aimed at helping businesses affected by the massive sinkhole on Rideau Street at Sussex Drive.

For the next two Sundays, June 19 and June 26, the city will provide free parking for two hours between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the city parking facilities at 70 Clarence Street and 141 Clarence Street.

On those two Sundays, there will also be free OC Transpo service from the Park and Rides at Eagleson, Fallowfield and Trim to the downtown area, with buses leaving every hour on the hour. A full schedule is available at octranspo.com.

All Paratranspo trips booked to the Rideau Centre or the ByWard Market on those days will be free as well.

“Downtown is open for business. I encourage residents to come down to support our local businesses and the people who work there,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said in a statement.

The local councillor, Matthieu Fleury, said local business owners and their staff are all friends and neighbours.

"While they’re open as usual, they’re facing a challenging time and a visit from those of us across the rest of the city would go a long way to helping," he said in a statement.

City crews continue work on repairing the sinkhole. Five businesses remain closed.