While the entire country is in the midst of election campaign season, the Plateau-Mont Royal borough in Montreal's local race for mayor is underway and it's all about the economy.

The candidates hoping to replace former-mayor Luc Ferrandez all said the central issue is finding a way to help local businesses thrive in a world of online shopping dominance, parking nightmares and construction.

"We have a lot of people in the Plateau who are very sensitive regarding environmental issues," said Projet Montreal candidate Luc Rabouin. "They want to preserve their local merchants, but they are really big online buyers, so the idea is to reconcile these common interests to be sure we are able to help our local merchants to deliver their products to the citizens of the Plateau."

Vrai Changement Pour Montreal candidate Marc-Antoine Desjardins wants to help businesses fighting to pay the rent each month against landlords hurting their bottom lines.

"Taking aggressive measures against overzealous owners of buildings that are raising the rent too high," he said. "I don't hear any kind of speeches from the administration for the last 10 years about that, but they've raised the parking meters."

Parking is precisely the problem for Ensemble Montreal candidate Jean-Pierre Szaraz. He said people outside the Plateau don't want to visit because of the parking nightmares.

"Re-invite them, change the prices of the parking meters sometimes, maybe even free parking on Sunday especially on St. Denis Street, which needs more love," he said. "Stop sending the message that you're not welcome in the Plateau like they've been doing for the past 10 years."

Szaraz added that he feels cyclists need to be reigned in, as they are causing hazards for pedestrians and can't be the real priority.

The by-election is Oct. 6.