Restaurateur rescued from St-Denis hole denies jumping to protest construction work
Kun Mou, owner of Wok N' Roll, provides CBC with video proof he didn't deliberately plunge into hole
The man who fell into a construction pit in front of his restaurant on St-Denis Street on Wednesday has video proof that he didn't jump into the hole, as Montreal police alleged.
- Man rescued from St-Denis hole may face mischief charges
- St-Denis construction understood by merchants, city says
On Wednesday, Kun Mou, the owner of the Wok N' Roll restaurant, fell more than two metres into the hole, just steps from his restaurant's entrance.
Before Mou could be rescued, firefighters had to cut off electricity to the area to protect him from live wires and check gas lines to make sure they weren't compromised.
The rescue took more than an hour.
Mou escaped with minor injuries, however, police are considering charging him with mischief for jumping into the hole on purpose to protest against the street work blocking Wok N' Roll.
That's a charge he and wife Jin Xu deny vehemently.
"He says, no, he was walking upstairs," said Xu.
Photo proof of blocked access
The couple acknowledges that the ongoing work to repair underground electrical wiring has caused tension between them, construction workers and the City of Montreal.
They've taken a series of photos and videos since the start of the work to demonstrate the lack of access to the restaurant.
One photo is time-stamped Saturday, January 16 at 2:27 p.m. – the middle of the business day.
It shows a construction worker holding up the plywood board that had been set over narrow beams to act as a walkway, effectively making it impossible for anyone to go in or out of the restaurant.
Mou and his wife say they have also asked for thicker plywood to cover the area where work is being done.
"The board is very thin. Anyone can have an accident," said Xu.
The couple says nobody is listening.
Duelling 911 calls
The conflict has also resulted in a series of 911 calls from both the owners and construction workers. The last time Xu called, she said she got a lecture.
"They shouted at me. They said, 'You can't do that again! 911 is not for you! It's not an emergency case.' But I [say] someone is breaking my fence. I want to protect my restaurant."
Xu said her only option is to record and photograph what's happening, so she has evidence the access issues are real.
Access 'respected:' Councillor Lionel Perez
"There's no doubt that all of those aspects have been respected," he insisted.
CBC News showed one of Xu's photos to the spokeswoman for the executive committee, Andrée-Anne Toussaint, however, she declined CBC's request interview Perez again.
A spokesman for the City of Montreal, Philippe Sabourin, also saw the photo.
Sabourin told CBC News the method being used to conduct electrical repairs on St-Denis Street, hydro excavation, is the least intrusive way of carrying out the work.
He said the work could be completed faster if the owners of Wok N' Roll allowed workers to remove the yellow fence that borders the patio for the duration of the process.
Sabourin said construction workers will stop what they're doing if a customer comes by and put down the walkway to allow the customer to enter the restaurant. They will then remove the plywood again and resume their work until the customer is ready to leave.
The construction work has been stalled since Wednesday's incident, however, it is expected to resume on Monday for a final day.