Ontario St. merchants disappointed they have to tear down patios for Formula E race
Published Thursday, July 13, 2017 8:52PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 14, 2017 10:05AM EDT
Restaurateurs on Ontario St. were surprised to learn that they have to remove their terrasses during the upcoming Formula E race.
The city of Montreal sent registered letters to business owners last week informing them that terrasses set up earlier this summer must be dismantled before July 27, and can be rebuilt after August 3.
However it was only after much questioning that the city admitted the change was necessary because of the Formula E race.
The race cars will not be running anywhere near Ontario St., but the city will be using the street as a detour to cope with traffic blocked from Viger St., Notre Dame St., and René Levesque Blvd. Emergency vehicles will also be parked on the street in case of need.
Fred Cormier, the owner of Station Host, said he will likely end up being without a terrasse for 12 days, a substantial loss when up to 80 percent of his summer income comes from patrons sitting outdoors.
One additional problem: the work will have to take place during Quebec's annual construction holiday.
He estimates he will lose up to $25,000 in business, including the cost of tearing down and rebuilding the terrasse.
"It's around $4-5 thousand to disassemble, reassemble and the storage. Like, it's not logical," said Cormier.
The city of Montreal is now offering up to $2,000 in compensation, but Cormier said that is inadequate.
"We don't have any answer now except that offer of $2,000 but we can't do anything with that. That can be good for the area, for all the businesses here, for everybody around but it must be done differently, that's all," said Cormier.
Victor Magaleas of Le Grill Barroso feels blindsided.
"I don't know what I'm supposed to do, where I put my stuff, the wood and I'm not ready for that," he said.
The city of Montreal said restaurateurs will also get rebates for the patio fees for the week in question, and that it has a liaison officer on call 24 hours a day for merchants.
Cormier said that has not been his experience.
"Nobody returned any calls, even the race, Alexandre Taillefer we tried, the city, the mayor, for a week now. And we don't have any answer now," said Cormier.
Those who live inside the area affected by the race are also starting to worry.
Thierry Zambo is worried about how he's going to get around his neighbourhood in two weeks.
"I can understand that it will be about circulation, traffic and ease of traffic but there's also a life in this district. This street is not like Ste. Catherine. Ste. Catherine is for the tourists. Here it's for the people," said Zambo.
Montreal has spent nearly $180,000 to rent parking spaces for 1,400 people who live inside the race zone.
Those living inside the race area will be getting free tickets, and have access to the paddocks on a practice day.
Crews began building grandstands for the race earlier this week and they will be in place until about Aug. 8.
The two E-Prix races are set to run through downtown streets July 29 and 30 on a three-kilometre loop between Berri St. and Papineau Ave. along René Levesque Blvd. and part of Old Montreal.
Overall the city of Montreal is spending $24 million over six years to host the event.