Dog groomer stuck in gentrification cross-hairs and might lose her business

A dog groomer in Montreal's Cote-des-Neighes-NDG borough has been fighting for four years to keep her business open as her landlord and the borough's gentrification efforts clash.

"A lot more letters, tickets, visits, pictures, they come take pictures, if i don't let them in they say you have to let me in or we can come back with a fine," said Spawtless owner Cassie Jordan.

The borough says she doesn't have permission to operate, but she has a permit, which is clearly displayed in her front window.

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After it was issued, she invested her savings, signed a lease and began renovations, but the borough said the permit was issued by a mistake.

"A week and something later, they called telling me we have to close shop in 10 days with zero compensation," she said. "They just said I'm sorry. I asked what's the reason why and they said the building's not four floors."

In 2008 the borough rezoned this area including the building on Jean-Talon West requiring them to be four storeys or more, and placing restrictions on leasing to new tenants.

"That's why we told her we don't sign with anybody until they go to the city and get approval to get in," said Jordan's landlord Ami Peleg.

Peleg owns the building and when the borough rezoned, it wouldn't allow him to find new tenants unless they were the same type of business.

The area was once industrial, but is in the midst of a redevelopment project by the borough to make it more of a residential neighbourhood.

"They want to get rid of all the commercial in the area and just to build high rises - 10-12 storey buildings - the whole area," said Peleg.

New buildings will increase costs.

"I know rents around here were not cheap," said Jordan. "This one was affordable. It's not a big space. It's not small. It's just right."

Jordan pays $2,000 per month in rent, and the commercial space in the neighbouring condos can go for twice as much.

Jordan's worried that if she is forced to move, she'll have to leave the area and risk losing her clients.

"I come to work with a lot of anxiety," she said. "What if they come with another fine? I have to leave my baby at home to come fill in some days at work because I have to make ends meet."

CTV contacted both the borough and the borough mayor for comment, but were told no one was available.