Montreal

New terrasse rules irk Montreal eateries

Some bar and restaurant owners in Montreal's Plateau-Mont-Royal borough say they won't set up their famous outdoor terrasses unless municipal officials back down on new regulations.

Some bar and restaurant owners in Montreal's Plateau-Mont-Royal borough say they won't set up their famous outdoor terrasses unless municipal officials back down on new regulations.

Montreal is known for its many outdoor patios on streets including St-Laurent Boulevard. ((CBC))

The borough's new administration has ordered owners to leave a 1.8-metre lane between their establishments and any outdoor tables to give pedestrians a right of way.

But some owners along St-Laurent Boulevard and Mont-Royal Avenue argue that the move will ruin the ambiance for their customers.

"It's ridiculous," said Massimo Lecas, co-owner of two St-Laurent restaurants, Globe and Buona Notte. "You can't do that.

"If I'm sitting over here, do I really feel like I'm at a restaurant?" he said, standing near the curb.

Unless the regulation is changed, Lecas said he won't set up a patio this year.

Projet Montréal Coun. Alex Norris defended the borough's decision.

"Between opening car doors and the holes for trees, there really wasn't enough room for [pedestrians] to pass by," he said. "Many pedestrians were forced to walk out onto the street into traffic to get up the Main, and we found that completely unacceptable."

The dispute is the latest to have been stirred up by the borough's administration. So far, the borough has raised eyebrows with plans to cut back on street snow removal on weekends, reduce the amount of free parking for non-residents and shut about a dozen streets to car traffic.

The fledgling Projet Montréal party swept all the city council seats in the district during last November's municipal election with a promise to do things differently.