Bishop Street braces for more construction

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Merchants on Bishop Street will have to endure another round of construction in the coming weeks.

While the STM has almost finished the Bishop mechanical ventilation station (MVS) five months earlier than planned, a new project will begin in the coming weeks.

A spokesperson from the STM confirmed with CTV Montreal a private developer will start building a real-estate project on the same site as the Bishop MVS. The project is independent of the STM’s worksite.

For the past three years, the STM has been working on the MVS system that blocked off the sidewalk on Bishop Street, resulting in some businesses losing money.

Merchants on Bishop Street say they can’t deal with any more construction.

“This will kill business further,” Harris Turpin of Kafein said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to Kafein. […] If there’s more, I don’t know what we are going to do.”

Turpin stated that due to the STM’s project, businesses on Bishop have died off.

“Construction was excessive. It’s like Saturday morning and they are doing construction. It killed businesses because no one could find it,” he said. “It’s like having a little corner of the city no one knew about."

Ferrari Restaurant owner Elio Schiavi says his business has lost over $500,000 since the construction began.

“I cannot go on like this anymore,” he said in tears. “It’s a little bit like if they announce you have cancer; you fight because you want to survive.”

The City of Montreal announced a $25 million plan to help merchants affected by construction, offering up to $30,000 in financial compensation to merchants each year for up to four years.

Turpin says it isn’t enough.

“It’s not going to be enough for businesses to recuperate their loses and employees are still going to get the short end of the stick,” he said.

Schiavi says the money they are offering will help to just keep them open.

“I’m 76 years old tell me what I’m going to do,”Schiavi said. “I put my soul here. It’s the only thing I have.”

- With files from Julian McKenzie