Laval has forgotten small businesses, says Notre Dame Blvd. children’s wear retailer

Repeated excavation of street is destroying us, says owner of Oneiro II boutique

Does the City of Laval care as much for the small store and business owners, who make up a significant portion of the tax base in the municipality, as it does for the big commercial players who do business in the city?

That’s a question Notre Dame Blvd. store owner Jane Moraitis is asking herself, after the city went and tore up her stretch of street several times in recent years, blocking customers’ access to the parking area of her children’s and baby wear boutique.

Failing small businesses

Moraitis is not alone in her assertion that by repeatedly disrupting traffic flow through long and protracted street repairs and upgrades, the city fails to live up to its responsibilities towards small businesses. The Laval News has found in its news files at least two similar instances.

Moraitis’s story goes like this. One recent morning, when the whole area west of 80th Ave. and Notre Dame was completely blocked off to local businesses, she says she saw a huge public works truck parked in front of her boutique blocking the entire parking.

Not again…

“They had dug up the sewers again,” she said, “which had already been repaired twice last year and, once more, no one had access to our business from any direction. Our customers being pregnant, with newborn, young children, or all of the above, had to walk to our boutique in order to pick up or place their orders for their baptisms or other events.”

After asking one of the workers politely if they could at least move their truck a bit, she says he started yelling that Notre-Dame was completely blocked, pointing towards the Val-Martin project. Either way, he said, no one could enter.

“The Val-Martin project being so far away from our business, I asked why the side streets were also blocked,” she said. “He then started getting aggravated, repeating that the whole area is blocked and started swearing in all the French words he could think of. To which, I objected strongly.”

‘Got out of hand’

Moraitis said that as nothing could stop the worker, he continued yelling obscenities, while saying she should leave him alone to do his job. “It got out of hand and, when I asked him why they are fixing the sewers here again, when it was already dug up twice in the last two years,” she said, adding that he yelled back that it was a 40-year-old problem under the street, as he continued to swear and curse.

“As the worker yelled and cursed at me, confirming that the whole area is blocked completely and customers will have no access to our businesses anyway,” she continued, “it didn’t help our frustration when, after a few minutes of seeing that we’re taking pictures, they moved their truck and finally freed 80th Ave., giving access to our customers.”

City’s ‘big projects’

Moraitis maintains that had it not been for the huge projects of Val-Martin and now the Récréathèque, “no one at the city would have given us the time of day,” she said.

“They went and blocked the whole area. They should have planned a bit better considering the businesses that are in the area. For example, they could have left open 80th Ave. and the side-streets, which would not affect their project at all. There’s no planning for us businesses. It’s like they don’t care about us.”

‘They should have planned a bit better considering the businesses that are in the area’

Moraitis’s story isn’t at all new. As reported by the Laval News in its June 28, 2017 issue, Christine Stergiou, who operates the Eggsquis breakfast restaurant on Daniel Johnson Blvd, had already been waiting at least two years for the City of Laval to complete road work along a stretch between Saint Martin and Souvenir boulevards.

Businesses forgotten, owners said

She and other merchants, including a number of restaurant owners, were waiting for the City of Laval to complete an extensive program of expansion and enhancements along their stretch of Daniel Johnson Blvd. between Saint Martin and Souvenir boulevards.

Several other Daniel Johnson Blvd. business owners came forth with similar complaints – including a 30 per cent drop in customer traffic that some blamed on the city’s slowness – as well as its seeming disregard for the well-being of Laval’s small and medium-size businesses.