Six months after it was first announced, the city of Montreal is moving ahead with a plan to move patios from the sides of buildings and into the middle of Jacques Cartier Square.

The city touts the plan as a way to encourage more people to use the square and to show off the architecture of the old buildings.

Critics expect the plan will lead to terrible service and customer dissatisfaction.

Mayor Denis Coderre said the plan to change the square has been in the works for years, and responds to many requests to showcase the unique character of Montreal.

"The reality here is that it's all about having a lot of people. It's all about fun, it's all about business, it's all about pride, to be proud of what we have. We're investing millions of dollars to enhance that tremendous gem," said Coderre.

Robert Astell, with the Old Montreal business development society, said the revamped square will give diners a closer view to whatever action is taking place in the heart of the square.

"It could be theatre production, it could be dance, it could be music, but we need or we want to have something with quality," he said.

The plan requires tearing down the existing patios and awnings that line the edges of the square, and creating about a dozen terraces with glass walls and roofs that will be several metres away from the buildings.

The patios will be lit, possibly heated, and be in place for 2017.

Artists and artisans will be set up along de la Commune St. and the mayor says he is considering eventually closing off that street to pedestrian traffic only.

The plan will also include public washrooms -- something merchants in the area have been demanding for years. 

The total cost is estimated at $5 million. The work is expected to start this spring but the city says it will not have an impact on the upcoming tourist season this summer.

This past summer critics said the plan would make it difficult for servers to bring people food from restaurants, especially if waiters have to fight their way through a flood of tourists walking between the buildings and the terraces.

Critics also said that waiters would have a difficult time keeping themselves and patrons' food dry if it was raining.