Right now there are no signs on the new Highway 69 showing where the businesses are in the area,” says co-owner Tracey Pearce.
The owners of the French River Trading Post are hoping that new signage along Highway 69 will be installed before the start of their high season on the May long weekend, but they are not holding their breath.
Tracey Pearce, co-owner of French River Trading Postsaid she was frustrated with responses she received from the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) telling her it will take at least another four weeks before signs are installed on the recently completed section of freeway .
MTO has completed the section of Highway 69 near the trading post last fall. The new lanes extend from north of Highway 522 to north of Highway 607.
The project included two new interchanges, and while northbound travelers can see the trading post from the highway, southbound drivers cannot.
“Right now there are no signs on the new Highway 69 showing where the businesses are in the area,” Pearce said. “I was told it would take at least another four weeks before we could install our billboards on the new highway. This is not acceptable to us.
We get a little frustrated. Our customers will not be able to find us.
MTO told Pearce in an email that it has begun to inventory current signs, but more work needs to be done before new sign locations can be delegated.
Pearce said she had been dealing with this situation for over a month.
“They had plenty of time to put everything together,” she said.
Most people in Northern Ontario are familiar with the French River trading post and know where it is located. Prior to the widening of Highway 69, motorists could simply park in the parking lot. Now they have to exit through a ramp to get to the trading post.
“People are still finding us, and we’re mostly fine, but we’re upset because our customers are upset,” Pearce said.
Technology doesn’t really help tourists find the trading post any better, either, she said.
“Those traveling south with GPS, it takes them to the wrong exit, and they have to go down to the Pickerel River outlet and then have to come back,” Pearce said.
The trading post is gearing up for its first full season since the pandemic began in 2020, Pearce said. For the past two years, Pearce has had to postpone the opening of the trading post for two months. It normally opens in March, she said, but due to the pandemic and closures, “we weren’t able to open until May.
“Luckily even during COVID-19 we ran some really successful seasons,” Pearce said.
The French River Trading Post (EnglishRiverTrading.com) has been in business for 66 years.
“We have become a landmark of Northern Ontario and Canada, a tradition and a destination for thousands of tourists,” said Pearce. “We are extremely disappointed with MTO’s response to this matter. We make every effort to educate our customers. »
The four-laning is part of a 152-kilometre widening project between Sudbury and Parry Sound. Another 68 kilometer stretch of highway between French River and Parry Sound has yet to be completed. This section was in the engineering and property acquisition phase in December.
Aaron Pickard is a forensic reporter and generalist at Sudbury.com.