Lengthy construction plans squeeze out Bishop Street business owners

Restaurateurs along Bishop St. are considering taking legal action against the STM over lengthy construction plans.

Fencing erected on Bishop between Ste.Catherine St. and De Maisonneuve Blvd. has narrowed the street, street parking has been eliminated, and foot traffic can't access the east side of the street from Ste. Catherine.

Mike Cloghesy, the owner of Mesa 14, a restaurant thriving on Bishop for the past 13 years, says the STM is taking nearly as long to build a ventilation tunnel as it took to construct the first 20 stations of the entire metro. 

"They promised us signage and stuff to keep us in business," he says. "In reality it's impossible to sustain these losses for over three years."

Revenues dropped immediately when construction began in July. In December they were down 30%.

"We're behind on rent, we're behind on payments," he says. "It's already been a tough couple of years and this has just been hell for us." 

He says many businesses have moved, or are planning to, he and his partner are at risk of bankruptcy if something doesn't give.

Cloghesy says a tax break, or opening up the fence to Ste. Catherine outside of construction hours in the evenings and weekends might help them skirt by.

"It hurts, it makes us feel powerless because we've watched this happen to endless other businesses on other streets," he says. "From what we've learned, the city is not willing to help."