Couple hopes unflattering mural will catch mayor's eye
A Montreal couple is attacking Mayor Denis Coderre for ignoring them and their six-year home renovation nightmare.
The couple installed an outdoor mural on their balcony depicting Coderre as more concerned with hockey and hot dogs then helping them deal with bureaucracy at city hall and the Quebec government.
The attack on the mayor is unflattering and hard to miss, but Danny Maltais and Jessica Sergerie say the mayor doesn't live up to his image as a man of action.
“It's an illusion,” said Maltais.
“It's a front - he's supposed to be near of the citizen but he's not,” said Sergerie.
The couple lives in one of the few habitable units of the building on St. Catherine St. E after paying to gut their sixplex as part of a city program to help renovations.
“We start with the dream to give a good home for people,” said Maltais.
They were told they could get $350,000 refunded on the $800,000 project to upgrade the stone facade to replace the insulation and expand the interiors of the rental units.
Six years and four contractors later, they have yet to receive any public money and they've paid $350,000 to contractors and lawyers.
The window contractor did not finish the job. The insulation was added but not covered and tenants moved out when there was little heat.
The couple says Coderre refuses to meet and personally help them.
Frustrated with the delays with his contractors, Maltais decided to build this three-storey balcony himself --even though he's the owner of the property, he soon found out he's not legally allowed to do this type of work because he doesn’t have the certifications.
To make matters worse, the city manager in charge of his project made eight modifications costing $150,000.
The city says it's unfair to blame Coderre. Russell Copeman, the executive committee member in charge of housing, says the city's housing officials have been very helpful.
“The mural is an attention getter and a sideshow. It doesn't change the substance of the file,” he said.
“Lots of people have examined this, we've been as flexible and patient as we possibly can you know the mayor is absolutely a hands-on mayor but there are 1.6 million Montrealers.”
Maltais and Sergerie now think bankruptcy would be a relief, and say they will leave Quebec and their dream of owning a sixplex if that happens.