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Montreal mayor wants to help merchants suffering from road work

Click to play video: 'Mayor Plante hopes new plan will help boost city’s struggling small businesses'
Mayor Plante hopes new plan will help boost city’s struggling small businesses
WATCH ABOVE: A new committee made up of economic industry experts has been tasked with coming up with ideas to advance commerce and retail business in Montreal. Global's Tim Sargeant has more on Mayor Valérie Plante's Commercial Development Plan – Apr 3, 2018

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante is hoping to bring a boost economic development and revitalize the retail industry in the city.

A new committee made up of industry experts have formed the “Commercial Development Plan” for Montreal to come up with ideas to advance commerce and retail business during the coming weeks and months.

“We consider that businesses on local business streets are crucial and important,” she said at a Tuesday press conference.

Plante says the initiative is a first for Montreal and it brings a new mindset.

She wants to look into how commercial taxes are applied. The mayor is considering re-writing the rules and wants to include the value of tenants and not just building owners when it comes to establishing tax rates.

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Plante also wants to look at how contracts are awarded to construction companies.

And the mayor is open to compensating small businesses who’ve been impacted by road construction.

“Let’s find ways to financially support businesses when they’re going through a difficult time,” she said.

Elio Schiavi is one of them. The owner of Ferrari restaurant and café on Bishop Street lost more than $75,000 in one year due to road work.

He says this is one of the toughest economic times in his business in the 37 years he’s been operating.

“We don’t really have customers coming here,” he told Global News.

But he’s hoping to turn things around once the busy summer tourism season begins.

The mayor and committee members on the new Commercial Development Plan are hoping to make big changes that will benefit the businesses once their report is released in June.

Montreal’s retail business represents $40 billion in annual sales — the second highest in Canada.

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