Business groups start petition on LaSalle Causeway closure, saying losses could grow to hundreds of millions

Kingston LaSalle Causeway

The head of Kingston Accommodation Partners says the impact on the city’s tourism economy of the ongoing LaSalle Causeway closure will grow from $20 million to hundreds of millions of dollars if the situation persists through May and into June.

In a statement provided to EOBJ Thursday, Krista LeClair, executive director of Kingston Accommodation Partners, said her organization, along with others such as Tourism Kingston, have put together a petition that they plan to circulate in the community.

“We continue to work together to gather data that outlines the true economic impact of the closure and delays, and communicating these impacts and the full picture to the federal government is important,” said LeClair. “The government needs to understand the daily challenges, on the ground, as well as the massive ripple effect this is having.”

OBJ360 (Sponsored)

According to LeClair, three federal departments — tourism, transportation, and Public Services and Procurement Canada, which manages and maintains the causeway — have been briefed on the impacts but “action continues to be very slow and transparency is lacking.”

The causeway has been closed since a portion of it was damaged March 30 during a repair project. PSPC has said that the closure could extend into July, much to the dismay of cruise line operators who have boats stranded in the inner harbour.

Earlier this week, St. Lawrence Cruise Lines said it had laid off 20 employees as a direct result of the ongoing closure of the causeway. If the closure continues for the estimated eight to 10 weeks, human resources and marketing coordinator Daniel Beals said St. Lawrence Cruise Lines will be looking at a loss of $1.5 million in sales.

The president of St. Lawrence Cruise Lines has written to the prime minister on the issue and says he would consider legal action against the federal government.

Restaurant and retail shop owners in downtown Kingston have also expressed concern. According to data from the Downtown Kingston BIA, there were at least 6,600 fewer visitors to the city’s downtown in April as compared to 2023, and 3,000 fewer than March.

“As we move later into May and through June, the tourism economy in Kingston will feel this impact grow from $20 million to hundreds of millions of dollars, including lost jobs and permanent business closures, and these impacts will be felt for years to come,” said LeClair in her statement. 

On Wednesday, PSPC announced that pedestrians would have access to the causeway, as well as cyclists, who are required to walk their bicycles. 

Get our email newsletters

Get up-to-date news about the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Ottawa and beyond.

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.