The redevelopment of the Sainte-Catherine street will begin Monday

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
The first phase of the project will focus on the stretch of Sainte-Catherine between Mansfield street and the entertainment district. It is expected to be completed in 2021.

From Monday, the Sainte-Catherine street will be reconstructed over a distance of 2.2 kilometres between Atwater avenue, where stood formerly the Montreal Forum, until the entertainment district to the east.


This project is necessary to replace the underground infrastructure, old a hundred years, but the City will take the opportunity to expand sidewalks, plant more trees and provide access to the Wi-Fi on the street.


The new administration in place at city hall also promises to do things differently from its predecessors.


Merchants fear to be trapped in a new nightmare-filled streets, gutted, closed and reopened, where the maze of orange cones and planks of plywood that acts as the sidewalks will flee customers and revenue.


“I request two things to the city, said Faress Zahed, the owner of a shop of memories, which takes a trade on the rue Sainte-Catherine for 23 years. Perform the job more quickly by using two teams working one after the other, and we give leave to taxes. “


This Iraqi origin has lived many construction sites managed by many municipal governments and has difficulty to believe that this time will be different from previous ones.


Robert Beaudry, the city councillor responsible for economic development, recognizes that the passers — by- tourists and Montrealers — who aventureront on certain stretches of the rue Sainte-Catherine over the next few years will be facing a real construction site, but a site that he hopes will be, welcoming.


“We work with corporate communications to develop a system of signage very clear, said Mr. Beaudry, which is part of the Project team in Montreal, the party of the mayor Valerie Plant. We want passers-by to know that not only the shops are open, but also that they are invited to enter “.


The directors Plant is also open to offer of leave and tax credits or subsidies to businesses that suffer financial loss as a result of the work.


“All options are on the table, said Robert Beaudry. We are currently working on a plan for retail and it should be ready this summer. “


The first phase of the project will focus on the stretch of Sainte-Catherine between Mansfield street and the entertainment district. It is expected to be completed in 2021. The second phase, from Mansfield street to Atwater avenue, will begin then.


According to Mr. Beaudry, the first phase is expected to cost at least $ 115 million. He, however, admitted that the final bill would depend on the type of choice that would make the administration Plant.


Several other business owners interviewed by The canadian Press, have expressed similar concerns : the decrease in the pedestrian traffic, declining revenues, lack of parking, risk of delays and cost overruns.


However, this is not the case of Benoit Vendette, the co-owner of the Nyk”s Bistro Pub.


Opened nine years ago, the restaurant of the man of business is located a few meters south of Sainte-Catherine, near the two projects related to the entertainment district.


“We have gone through everything, he commented. The quartier des spectacles has been built from A to Z while we were here. There was a crater just outside of the bistro for a month and a half. “


Mr. Vendette was noted that most of his customers were pedestrians and that the old building had, in fact, increased the goodwill of his restaurant, forcing the walkers to pass in front.


According to him, complaining is too easy.


“It’s going to be beautiful, it is a really good project, he argued. We are here to make things go well. The goal, it is to be happy. “