HELP YOUR LOCAL BUSINESSES IN LITTLE ITALY Leave St Laurent Boulevard open for traffic

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To whom it may concern,

My name is Marcello Di Ilio, I am the owner of Restaurant Pomodoro situated in Little Italy. As you are well aware by now, Mayor Valerie Plante, as well as the leader of the borough Rosement-La Petite Patrie  Mr. Francois William Croteau, have decided to expand their “circuit bleu” to little Italy by closing down Boulevard St. Laurent, between Jean Talon and St. Zotique, for the purposes of creating what they call a “transit mall”.

The owners of the boutiques and shops operating in the area, including myself, were taken by complete surprise as we were never informed of this decision, nor were we asked how we felt about this big change. After we became aware of this, we immediately contacted the SDC requesting an explanation and to hold an emergency meeting with its members. During this meeting, which took place last Friday, the SDC explained that the city only reached out to them a few days before the decision was made public, and were presented with only two options whereby they were only given 3 hours to choose. As they felt neither option was in the best interest of its members, they chose what they believed to be the “lesser of two evils”.

When the SDC was confronted by its members and informed of how they actually felt about Plante’s decision, they officially retracted their support and withdrew themselves from the issue. It is our position, as business owners either working on Boulevard St. Laurent or next to it, that the loss of almost 100 parking spots along with the increase in traffic due to the necessary detours that will naturally result from this, will discourage people outside the area from coming to Little Italy. This in turn will affect our ability to generate revenue, especially if you compound this with the measures the government was required to take to address the current COVID pandemic. We find this decision was made too swiftly without taking into consideration how the small businesses in the area would be affected by this, given they are already struggling to remain afloat.  

I’m reaching out today as a means to start informing the people of our point of view, the small businesses of Rosemont-La Petite Patrie, who have worked hard and dedicated these last few years to providing them with a quaint and cultural experience unique to Montreal. We want the public to know that the City of Montreal is making this decision, without following proper protocol, and as a means to further their own agenda. We do not want to be part of a political agenda; we want things to remain as safe as possible during these already stressful times. We require initiatives from the city that will render Rosement-La Petite Patrie accessible to all people from all corners of Montreal, in a manner that is consistent with the recommended social distancing rules and sanitary measures that is being enforced all over the world.

Many businesses in the area are banding together to ensure their voices are heard!   We hope we will have the support of the public in our mission to keep Boulevard St. Laurent open so that deliveries and traffic can flow and encourage safe means of travel. We in no way intend for this to become a debate about environmental issues or bike paths. We are in no way against any initiates that will encourage greener means of travel, we are just mindful of the obstacles COVID-19 presents, and ask that the city take into consideration the strife of small businesses on and around Boulevard St. Laurent before imposing drastic changes on the way in which they operate.

To demonstrate just how opposed to this idea people are, I started this online petition which obtained 4,700 signatures within 72 hours! In the hopes of surviving the economic downturn resulting from this pandemic together and ensuring that the city will not resort to improper shortcuts that undermine democracy, we ask that you help us spread the word to the people and properly inform them of our side to to this story.