In Montreal, ongoing roadwork on St-Laurent Boulevard has forced the owner of one restaurant to temporarily close.
Simar Anand, the owner of Darbar, an Indian restaurant, closed his business on July 18, one week after a public works project began.
Anand says clients were cancelling and others walking out of his business and it left him no choice but to shutter operations.
“People do not want to deal with this. People don’t want to turn on St-Laurent. People don’t want to walk over these barriers,” Anand told Global News.
The restaurant owner had to lay off nine employees while his revenues dried up.
“It’s very frustrating. It’s very stressful,” he said.
Anand says City of Montreal officials told him he doesn’t qualify for financial compensation because the road work is scheduled to last 10 weeks and not the six months required to be eligible.
“The amount of business loss that I’ve suffered in the middle of the summer during these 10 weeks far exceeds the business loss I would have suffered during six months any other time of the year,” Anand said.
“We are in contact with the owner of the restaurant and we will find different solutions to support him during the duration of the work and to limit the impact on his activities,” writes Marikym Gaudreault, a spokesperson for the city’s Executive Committee in a text message sent to Global News. It continues, “Our administration has demonstrated on several occasions that it is there to support and help small businesses, they are pillars of the Montreal economy.”
Anand adds that to add insult to his financial injuries, the infrastructure work has stopped during Quebec’s construction holiday.
“They’ve ripped up the sidewalks, ripped up the street, they’ve put up all these barricades and they’ve gone off for construction holidays,” said Anand.
It is a sentiment shared by a tourist visiting from Calgary.
“I think they should either be working, finish it, or don’t start it at all,” Manning Fung told Global News.
And another tourist from Brampton, Ont. was hoping to eat at Anand’s restaurant. He was a little disappointed and felt sad for the owner when he learned he had to close due to the roadwork.
“Yes, because he is worried about his restaurant,” Herjap Singh told Global News.
There are several commercial spaces available for rent and many windows are boarded on part of St-Laurent Boulevard between Ontario and Sherbrooke streets.
Anand has no plans to re-locate. He inherited the restaurant from his father — who started it 26 years ago but recently died from COVID-19.
“Now that I’ve lost my father to COVID, this is my connection to him,” he said.
Anand plans to re-open as soon as the roadwork ends.