Bishop Street merchants brace for more construction work
Merchants on Bishop Street in downtown Montreal are bracing for yet another round of construction work.
Since 2016, work on an STM mechanical ventilation station forced much of the street to be closed off to pedestrian traffic and parking between Ste-Catherine Street and de Maisonneuve Boulevard. That project is now winding down nearly five months ahead of schedule, according to STM spokesperson Philippe Déry in an email to Global News.
However, merchants say their businesses have taken a huge financial hit. Several places including Mesa 14 restaurant have closed while others have packed up and moved.
“I’ve lost about a quarter on a million dollars since the start of this,” says Ferrari Restaurant owner Elio Schiavi.
He’s owned the business for several years and now with all the losses, Schiavi says he is just trying to stay open.
“I’m living off my pension right now,” he said.
More construction in the area could start up again in a matter of weeks. There are plans for a private real estate development in the same spot where work was done on the ventilation system.
The new project will be right next door to Schiavi’s restaurant and he says he doesn’t know what to do at this point.
“I don’t know if I’m going to end it in October, I don’t know if I’m going to end it next year,” he says while fighting back tears. “I don’t know if I can go on for another few years.”
The City of Montreal is offering up to $30,000 in financial compensation to merchants who are affected by the work in the area but many business owners like Schiavi say it isn’t enough. He has a pending lawsuit against the city, but he is waiting for it to be heard before the courts.