Dealers fear having to close the shop because of the construction work planned for the tram from 2023, which will take several months, even a few years.
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A survey by SOM shows that 95% of respondents believe that working hours will have a negative or very negative impact on their business.
Additionally, 44% believe the works will see them shut down their business, which has just endured the hell of the pandemic.
“It is certain that the works are very worrying and there is also all the impact that the tram will have on parking and on the way the district travels. I would tell you that there are many concerns at this level as well,” says Jean-Sébastien Adem, president of the Montcalm District Commercial Development Company (SDC), which commissioned the survey.
Photo Jeremy Bernier
Jean-Sébastien Adem, President of the Montcalm District Commercial Development Company.
Awareness of the tram is rather low among the 225 members of the SDC.
Among those surveyed, only 37% say they support the project. The divided path also attracts many skeptics, with 69% opposed and very opposed to the concept.
On the René-Lévesque boulevard, you don’t have to walk far to meet merchants who are totally opposed to the introduction of a tram that will pass right outside their door.
“I’m afraid of the closure,” says Marc-Antoine Muñoz from the La Scala restaurant categorically.
He wonders about several decisions made by the project office and approved by elected officials.
“Why do they want to make a raised concrete slab? you go all around the world […] cars drive over it [le tramway]. I think it should annoy drivers.
The same applies to the owner of the wellness center, Florence Guigner, who, in addition to the major problems caused during the works, wonders where her customers and suppliers will park after the tram is built.
“There are only negatives. I think that the tram was first designed underground on René-Lévesque.”
An idea supported by Mr. Muñoz, who knows the subject inside out. “When the idea of a tram came to them, it was underground here. He returned to Turnbull and left Les Érables.”
For his part, Yves Ledoux from Pub Galway on Cartier Street doesn’t mince his words.
Photo Didier Debusschere
Yves Ledoux from Pub Galway on Cartier Street.
“People have been telling us for 25 years that they have trouble finding a parking space […] We fat people will take away 500 parking spaces without a solution. Of course I’m worried about my business and my buddies’ business.”
Mayor Bruno Marchand, believed in by the SDC tram project merchants, had pledged to make ten improvements to the tram, notably lowering the concrete slab at certain crossings and reducing the presence of wires.
“Since his election, he has changed his mind,” launches Marc-Antoine Muñoz. “Mr. Marchand is a dreamer.”
The owner of the La Scala restaurant wants a referendum and doesn’t understand why the mayor of Quebec is hesitating.
Like many of his colleagues, he believes that social acceptance is important for such a project. “If Mayor Marchand is so proud of his poll numbers, why is he afraid of a referendum?”
– With the coll. by Jeremy Bernier