A new survey obtained by TVA Nouvelles on the Réseau express Vélo (REV) and its impact on businesses on Saint-Denis Street in Montreal shows that a majority of respondents are fiercely opposed.
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• Read also: Boycott campaign against traders who oppose REV
This web survey was carried out between August 28 and 31 by the consulting service agency TACT at the request of the Coalition Accès Saint-Denis.
“This is a group of merchants wishing to collect information on the economic situation of businesses on rue Saint-Denis and develop an argument based on reality and facts in order to make representations”, according to the description made in the questionnaire.
The questionnaire was sent to the 261 members of the SCD rue Saint-Denis. Sixty-five traders responded to the questionnaire.
These are 62% of respondents who are totally against the Bike Express Network, while nearly a quarter (22%) of them are currently opposed, but say they are in favor if the project is postponed until next summer.
In addition, 12% of those polled are totally in favor, while 4% indicated that they did not know enough about the project to be able to position themselves.
Two of the respondents mentioned that they did not understand why the project was planned on a major artery such as rue Saint-Denis. According to them, a secondary artery would be more appropriate.
The implementation of the REV makes many traders fear the worst, so much so that 72% of them believe that the survival of their business is threatened if the REV is implemented as planned. The remaining 28% have no worries about it, the poll reveals.
In terms of their views on the Plante administration’s attitude towards them in this matter, almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents feel abandoned, while 10% of those surveyed admit that they there is some accompaniment, but feel it is insufficient.
Some 6% feel supported and 10% ticked “none of the above”.
The impacts of the implementation of the Express bicycle network could be considerable and change the face of this artery since 37.1% of respondents “very probably” plan to move from rue Saint-Denis when their lease expires. Other business owners who took part in the survey indicated that 11.4% were quite likely to leave. A third of them (34.3%) said it would be unlikely for him to leave, while 17.3% of respondents have every intention of staying in their premises.
It’s no longer a secret: there have been layoffs in the context of the pandemic. And the Coalition Accès Saint-Denis poll reflects this statement.
Almost half of merchants (49%) have laid off fewer than 10 employees. This proportion drops to 16.3% for a number of layoffs between 10 and 24 employees and to 6.1% for those who laid off more than 25 employees.
In addition, 28.6% of respondents say they have not laid off.
Finally, 8 out of 10 respondents add that these layoffs are temporary.
88.5% of respondents to the questionnaire say that 88.5% use the services of delivery trucks that must go on Saint-Denis Street to their business.
Others, in a smaller proportion, receive deliveries via the alleys.
And these deliveries are counted in the hundreds every week.
In the wake of the survey obtained by TVA Nouvelles, the Coalition Accès Saint-Denis sent out a letter in which it said it was disappointed not to have had a meeting with Mayor Valérie Plante.
The members of the coalition are also calling for the work of the REV to be stopped.
Here is their reaction:
«She did not even contact us to assess the options that could limit the impact on the neighborhood, on our businesses, our pensions … our lives. We have had proof that the Plante administration is disconnected from the reality of traders, that for them, we do not exist. It is once again imposing major work on us at a time when we were hoping to emerge and when we helplessly witnessed the closure of many businesses on our historic artery.
The mayor says we have to innovate. To innovate is also to adapt to a new reality. This opportunity was missed and it is we who will pay the price.
We are going to fight for the future of Rue Saint-Denis.
Today, therefore, we are officially asking to stop the work of the REV.
According to the Société de développement commercial de rue Saint-Denis (SDC), 25 businesses have already closed since January 2020, more than 35 entrepreneurs fear that the work of the REV and the impact of this permanent corridor will cause them to close for good not to mention those who are already planning to move from the streets.
How many closings will be necessary to finally be considered, Ms. Plante?
Many voices are raised to denounce the mayor’s approach to the development work of the REV: we reiterate our cry from the heart, hoping that it will be heard, in extremis, through this concert of worried voices.»