Ontario Street bar owners condemn city order to remove terrasses for Formula E race
Ville-Marie borough offering businesses $2K in compensation, but owners say that won't cover lost revenue
Bar and restaurant owners on a section of Ontario Street East are unhappy after being ordered to dismantle their terrasses for the upcoming Formula E race the weekend of July 29 and 30.
The City of Montreal only informed the owners of the order last week in a letter, which offered no explanation why.
Ontario Street isn't part of the course for the electric car race, which will follow city streets around the east end of Montreal's downtown.
Organizers, however, say they need Ontario Street free of terrasses for emergency car vehicles and to help with traffic flow during the race.
Owners say the order will cost them business for eight days.
"The terrasse is full all the time — for dinner, for brunch, for lunch," said Station Host owner Fred Cormier. "Nobody is inside — everybody wants to be outside."
The borough is offering businesses up to $2,000 in compensation, but the owners say they'll lose much more than that.
Owners also condemned the borough's lack of communication on the matter, a complaint that was echoed by Projet Montréal city councillor Eric Alan Caldwell.
"There's so much money, so much promotion going into that event, and so little consultation and communication with local business owners and local residents," he said.
Borough spokesperson Anik de Repentigny told CBC News via email that Ville-Marie only found out recently that it needed the street opened up to reduce traffic congestion caused by the race and to improve emergency vehicle access.
She said the borough hopes the terrasses can return by Aug. 3, if not before.
This is the first time Montreal is hosting the Formula E, which features fully electric cars that can reach speeds up to 225 kilometers per hour.
The race is costing the city $24 million to stage, which Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has called an investment in Montreal being seen as a green energy leader.