The Côte des Neiges-NDG borough is taking down and will rethink an existing health corridor on the northern side of Van Horne Avenue between Victoria and Lavoie after complaints from area merchants, The Suburban has heard from Mayor Sue Montgomery Friday afternoon.
Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand said that area merchants had been suffering serious business losses because of the recently installed corridor to prompt social distancing because of the COVID-19 crisis.
The bollards that were installed removed numerous parking spaces on the block.
Rotrand says the corridor was installed at Montgomery’s behest “and with no consultation whatever.” A further comment from Montgomery will be forthcoming.
“This block has some 10 restaurants, many small and most doing much of their business as take out, and several ethnic supermarkets where people drive up to pick up groceries,” Rotrand earlier told The Suburban. “Now, no one can park. The owners are in an uproar. Some say they have lost 90 percent of their business. I am getting lots of calls.”
The councillor added that the sidewalk is of a regular size, “but the stores are recessed 20 feet from the sidewalk, meaning there is a huge space to walk on private property. There is no need for this health corridor” in that area.
Rotrand heard Friday afternoon from merchants that the bollards were going to be removed and rethought. He pointed out that Councillor Lionel Perez, the area representative, had e-mailed the borough Mayor.
“It is now Friday,” Rotrand added. “Merchants say they lost a ton of business this week. This health corridor was installed without consultation or taking into account the geometry of the street or the realities of the type of businesses there. The lesson is that the borough needs to slow down when it wants to make changes that will have a major impact and work with stakeholders to find the right solutions.”
We had heard complaints from merchants, one of whom did not want to go on the record and from more as conveyed to Ramon Vicente, vice-president (external) of the Filipino Association of Montreal and Suburbs, who said the intention was good to allow social distancing, but the result was not.
A similar health corridor is in Rotrand’s own district of Queen Mary, east and west of Décarie Blvd. The councillor said he has heard no objections to those installations.
“Right now, on Queen Mary, most of the stores are closed and there is a need for the bollards near the banks, as a lot of people are congregating there. I expect this to be a temporary measure where we’re likely to have a lot of pedestrians and social distancing would be difficult. Not every street meets those criteria and it’s a mistake to have a blanket criteria imposed.”