Surprise, surprise, Montreal. Another street's construction has been extended for yet another year. For those of you in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, you know the planned construction along Ontario Street East has been giving you headaches for a while now. Well, unfortunately, you're in for more pain.
Merchants along Ontario Street near Place Simon-Valois and the pedestrian thoroughfare were notified by city officials two weeks ago that construction would continue for well over a year, all the way through Summer 2020. Business owners are rightfully worried that their business will suffer during the renovations as city officials didn't consult any local merchants about the upcoming construction project. Classic!
TL;DR Shop owners along Ontario Street East near Place Simon-Valois are super angry with the City of Montreal because of a huge construction project that is ongoing until Summer 2020. The city claims that business owners will be compensated up to $30,000 for any potential losses.
We've seen this song and dance before, as merchants along Bishop Street between Ste. Catherine and de Maisonneuve have experienced three-years of suffering at the hands of construction. The work along Bishop is scheduled to end in 2020 as well, but business owners have had to close their doors and are on the hook for massive amounts of debt.
They've unsuccessfully tried to sue the STM and Montreal while, some claim, Mayor Valérie Plante turns a blind eye to the suffering of local, family-operated businesses.
The city claims that they will pay businesses up to $30,000 for any potential losses as is required in new bylaws, but merchants are unconvinced. When asked about their reaction to the news, local shop owners expressed skepticism and dismay at their lack of power to influence construction plans.
The construction will be focused on expanding the pedestrian walkway in Place Simon-Valois and repairing old and busted electric lines and water pipes. Borough mayor Pierre Lessard-Blais appreciates the concerns of local business owners but says the renovations will attract more pedestrians and more business to the street. The local merchants association agrees with the borough mayor but they didn't expect the work to last so long.
The water mains under Ontario Street are over 100 years old, by the way. Classic Montreal.
Officials claim that the pedestrian space can currently accommodate up to 7,400 visitors and that number will jump astronomically after the construction is over. They intend to use the space as a hub for local businesses and festival ground.
Phase 1 will begin this September to April 2020. Phase 2 is planned for April 2020 to Summer 2020. During construction, Ontario Street won't be closed to traffic.
The city promises that merchants won't have to worry about losing business for extended periods of time, but of course, we shall wait and see.