Frustrated Bishop St. restaurateurs taking city, STM to court

For months, the east side of Bishop St. between Ste. Catherine and De Maisonneuve has been a giant construction mess, leaving the businesses lining that side of the street wondering if they'll be able to survive.

Now, five of them — Mesa 14, Gourmet Burger, Restaurant Ferrari, Kafein and Craft Grilled Cheese — are taking the city of Montreal, and the STM, to court, saying the construction work is taking away parking spaces, and leaving potential customers wondering if they're still open.

Last fall, the STM started tearing up that side of the street to begin a long-term job of building a ventilation station for the metro's Green Line.

That work is expected to continue through 2020, and some of the plaintiffs say if things stay the way they are, they'll be forced out of business before then.

Mesa 14, a Mexican restaurant that's been in business since 2003, reports business has fallen as much as 40 per cent since the work began, while the rest are reporting similar declines.

The plaintiffs are each demanding a $2,500 payout per month to compensate for lost business, free ad space in the nearby Guy-Concordia and Peel metro stations, better access to their businesses from Ste. Catherine St., placing plants and decorative signage along the street to make it more attractive to potential customers, and limiting the use of noisy machinery during lunch and dinner times, from 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and from 4 to 9 p.m.

In addition, they want $25,000 to fund an engineering study to establish whether the work can proceed quicker and more efficiently.