Bishop Street construction killing business, owners say

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Bishop Street construction killing business, owners say

Some shop owners on Bishop Street in downtown Montreal say this summer may be their last in business thanks to construction that's ripped up the street.

The city's transit authority, the STM, is building a mechanical ventilation station and the work is expected to last until 2020.

Bishop Street merchants have filed a lawsuit against the transit agency and the city.

They want financial compensation of $2,500 per month.

That's a drop in the bucket compared to the $9,000 a month that restaurant owner Elio Schiavi says he's losing. Last Friday he only had 15 customers.

After 35 years in business, he says his restaurant, Ferrari, may not be around next summer.

"I don't think it's possible because, you see, summer time, you make a little bit extra, and it gives you enough energy to go through winter," he said.

Outside his restaurant, a white tarp blocks the view of the street. He shows city plans that call for the sidewalk to be painted bright colours by July, but that hasn't happened yet.

"They come over here, they confiscate your view, they confiscate your everything — come on," he said.

Carlo Zahabi, owner of Le Gourmet Burger restaurant, also worries the work will kill his business.

"At least find a plan, for those business that are suffering from the construction that you're doing," he said.

With the summer already a write-off, Zahabi says he's looking to September, hoping students will boost business.