Security fencing for COP15 | Traders fear financial losses

The high-security fences installed in the city center as part of COP15 could remain in place until mid-January, a month after the end of the international event. Many lament that traffic will be strongly affected during the holidays, especially around Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, condemned throughout this period.


Posted at 5:00 a.m.

Public notices distributed by the City of Montreal to the neighborhood over the past few days indicate that the fences will be in place until mid-January, to the chagrin of some merchants who already fear considerable financial losses due to the obstructions.

According to several sources familiar with the matter, the reason is very simple: the contract for the installation of these fences, granted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in St-Denis Thompson, stipulates that the contractor has up to next January 20 to remove all of the security infrastructure.

Officially, COP15 ends on December 19, but “subsequent negotiations” may have to extend the presence of international delegates in the metropolis by a few days.

Except that the mandatory annual construction holiday will be held this year from December 25 to January 7, forcing the shutdown of “all construction sites” under the law.

However, installing these imposing fences is long. Their development began on November 14 and will continue until the 27th. Dismantling them will therefore also take a lot of time.

“It’s the same situation for all the streets within the perimeter”, confirms the administrative spokesperson for the City of Montreal, Philippe Sabourin, while reiterating however that the municipal administration has no power over the contract of the RCMP. She did not respond to questions from The Press on the subject, Thursday.

Lots of uncertainties

On Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, which will be completely closed to cars, bicycles and pedestrians for the duration of the congress in order to ensure safe travel for dignitaries and delegates, some businesses are already apprehensive of the repercussions of the major obstacles to traffic in sight.

For the co-owner of Toqué! Christine Lamarche, the presence of barriers until January would simply be incomprehensible. “I am flabbergasted by that. I don’t understand. We are closed from December 24 to January 8, but honestly, I would expect that when we come back, the fences will not be there anymore. It will be my fight at the end of COP15, she says. We remain open, we will show resilience once again, but what we liked less was really not having known it in advance. »

We learned that everything will be closed in the area at the last minute. Our staff is stressed, we are asked if we will have to lay off. After two years of a pandemic, it’s not pleasant to live through this, ”continues.

Christine Lamarche, co-owner of Toqué!

His group says they are already seeing the effects on daily traffic, especially at lunchtime. “We are informed, yes, on the other hand, often between the information we have and the reality, there are a lot of distortions. And there is not really any dialogue possible”, she persists.

“I have no idea if we’re going to get out of it, but unfortunately, that’s kind of the reality of the restaurant business,” remarks the owner of the Café du Parquet, Lucio Daddario.

He says that the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), which owns the Jacques-Parizeau building where his business is located, has already “recommended that all employees telecommute from December”. “These workers, for us, represent about 50% of our clientele. If the building is in slow motion, it is sure that we will not have lunches. We’ll only have lunch. So, if, in addition, no one from the outside can come in, we will be very affected, ”sums up the trader.


PHOTO PATRICK SANFAÇON, THE PRESS

Barricade on Viger Street

“Always a way to average”

The general manager of the Commercial Development Company (SDC) Montreal downtown, Glenn Castanheira, fears several impacts for “institutions like the Toqué!, or the H3 of the Humaniti hotel”, which will be in the heart of the perimeter and security barriers.

“It is really hard to understand why we intend to leave these fences after COP15. I understand that there is a resource issue, but it would be interesting for the authorities to weigh up what it will cost companies, compared to what it would cost to pay workers to remove the fences more quickly, “says Mr. Castanheira, who claims to have communicated his concerns to the Plante administration.

According to him, construction holidays certainly represent a challenge, “but there is always a way to average things out, to find solutions”. “We’re not talking about aesthetics here. We are talking about removing major obstacles in the heart of Quebec’s largest economic hub,” said the DG, deploring, like many others, receiving information “drop by drop”.


The article is in French

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