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A merchant blames the bike path for the closure of the shoe repair shop he founded in 1939

A merchant blames the bike path for the closure of the shoe repair shop he founded in 1939

The owner of an establishment in the Ahantsik-Kartivel area believes that the construction of a bicycle path on Avenue Henri-Bourassa is responsible for the end of his operations.

Kelly Shoe Repair, founded in 1939, served its last customers last week. Owner Eric Bossier claims he had to close his business due to the upcoming elimination of parking spaces in front of his business.

Why ? The REV network arrives at this nerve center in Montreal. Work will begin sometime in 2024.

“When they presented their project to us, it was a window dressing,” says Eric Bossier. They told us we don’t need parking.

“They added that the new course path will bring us renewal and new customers. I don’t know what planet they live on to say that.”

Kelly Shoe Manufacturing Company was founded in 1939.

It is not easy to find parking on the different streets of Montreal. We noticed this during our visit. Worse is yet to come, according to Mr. Bossier, 50% of whose clients drive to work.

“The anger of people in this sector is palpable. In addition to the cancellation of parking spaces, people will no longer be able to turn right on small streets.

“Then, finding parking is already complicated because of the stickers. It’s going to be even more important with REV.”

Confident mayor

The mayor of Ahantsik-Cartierville district tried to reassure herself about the REV project in her sector.

“Outside peak hours, the four lanes of Avenue Henri Bourassa are not used to their maximum capacity,” confirms Emilie Thuillier. It is the most widely used route in terms of public transportation in Montreal.

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“We need to have a full cycle link between east and west. It is truly a mobility project and our goal is to revitalize the sector.”

She is convinced there will be enough parking around the businesses on the street.

She adds: “We will move Henri Bourassa’s places to the beginnings of the perpendicular streets.” “There are places that are currently uninhabited.”

There will be a public meeting on Thursday evening to reveal details of the REV project.

It pricks

Returning to Mr. Bossier, this is the end of the adventure that began in 2009 when he bought his parents’ company. The latter has been the owner since 1972.

“It hurts my heart. Shoe making is important in my family, as my grandfather and many of my uncles worked in this field.

He tried to save his business by looking for premises elsewhere in Montreal, but exorbitant rental prices made him back out.

“I will set up a workshop at home. I will continue my orthopedic shoe repair contracts.

“If I had continued in business for another two or three years, I would have been bankrupt by the time REV arrived. There, I could leave with my head held high, telling myself that I had served my loyal customers well.