The longtime owner of Café Cherrier is fed up with the borough of Plateau-Mont-Royal and mayor Luc Ferrandez. Jacques Boisseau has had to contend with a lot of changes in the three decades his bistro has been open on Cherrier and Saint-Denis but a recent terrasse permit price hike of $9,375 has sent the restaurateur over the edge.
The cost of Café Cherrier's permit jumped from $625 to $5,000 in 2013. Then the borough told Boisseau earlier this year that there had been a clerical error: the true cost of the permit was $10,000. Now Boisseau must pay this amount and an additional $5,000 to make up the difference from a year ago. In an interview with Le Journal de Montréal Boisseau characterized the price hike as theft.
C'est du vol, le 5000 $, c'est leur erreur [...]. Et avec un loyer à 10 000 $, ça va me coûter de l'argent d'exploiter cette terrasse. Autant la fermer. Tous ceux qui sont installés sur le domaine public vont vous dire que ça n'est pas rentable d'avoir une terrasse. Les permis sont trop chers.
For its part, the Ferrandez administration claims it's making up for a long-standing iniquity. It seems former Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau exempted Café Cherrier from having to shell out a penny more than $625 a year for its permit, having accorded them "special status" in the mid-1980s. Borough spokesperson Michel Tanguay says Boisseau can't have his cake and eat it too: "[Café Cherrier] a fait des profits pour une bouchée de pain pendant des années. On ne peut pas avoir le beurre et l'argent du beurre."
To add more salt to the wound, Plateau-Mont-Royal has also given Boisseau a week to change his restaurant's chairs to PVC plastic.