Prince Arthur merchants unhappy with updated pedestrian street
Published Wednesday, June 21, 2017 1:26PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 21, 2017 9:18PM EDT
Two years after the Plateau Mont Royal borough announced it would spend millions of dollars to spruce up Prince Arthur St., merchants on the pedestrian-only are not happy with how things look.
A few holes remain and some greenery needs to be planted, but the lion's share of the work is complete.
Mike Michakis, owner of Rubs Smokehouse, one of the many restaurants in the area, said the end result is unimpressive.
"I'm not happy with the look," said Michakis.
Crews have spent years installing new permanent benches, planters, and making other updates to the street east of St. Laurent Blvd.
Terrasses are now in the middle of the street with pedestrian paths next to the buildings, which Michakis and other restaurateurs said makes awnings attached to buildings useless.
"They didn't even take anything under consideration of what, with the meetings that we had with the city, anything that we spoke about, the restaurateurs, the people that live on the street, that do business on the street, they didn't take anything under consideration," said Michakis.
He added that his proximity to St-Laurent Blvd. has kept him from being too hard but that some of his neighbours are struggling financially.
“Everybody that’s deeper in lost more business than I have. When you see the construction, nobody would even think of crossing St-Dominique," he said. "There’s about three businesses that already closed down. There’s a gelato business that goes ‘Mike, if I don’t do business this year I probably won’t be open next year.’”
He added that while the city may have finished this round of changes, he doesn't feel he can count on them to show up when things need renovations or when graffiti appears on businesses.
"I've called since last year that I have graffiti on the side of my business and still nothing has been done," he said.
Alex Norris, the Projet Montreal city councillor for the Plateau, said he understands the merchants' concern.
"I think it's premature to judge this project before all the greenery goes in," he said. "That's what's really going to transform this street."
The tourist-friendly area had its heyday several decades ago, but fell out of fashion about 15 years ago and as a sector has struggled since, with several restaurants and stores shutting down during the construction period.