Mere weeks after the city of Montreal's sudden and inexplicable crusade against Chez Alexandre's terrasse downtown, the Plateau borough has foiled another patio through sheer incompetence. In a rant today in La Presse, columnist François Cardinal explains the plight of Richard Holder (Holder, Brasserie Bernard, Majestique), a principal in Waverly on the corner of Saint-Laurent and Saint-Viateur in Mile End. When Holder opened the bar in 2010 he applied for a permit to erect a terrasse on the Saint-Viateur side of the building. Plateau officials told him this was impossible as it would block trucks trying to pass on the street. Holder was offered a compromise; build a sidewalk terrasse instead. After spending $7,700 in permit fees and construction costs, the bar owner and restaurateur did exactly that. Waverly's terrasse (see photo above) has since become a popular neighbourhood fixture.
Then, out of nowhere, Holder received a letter from the Plateau borough this past March informing him that the very sidewalk terrasse he was instructed to build did not conform to regulations on universal access. Waverly would have to dismantle the terrasse, posthaste. To add to Holder's frustrations, the borough invited him to apply for a street terrasse permit—which was his original plan for Waverly back in 2010. Officials had made a mistake; there is enough space on the street for a terrasse after all.
The exasperated businessman told Cardinal (translated): "I have no compensation for the loss [of my patio], fine. But that they come and ask me to pay for the analysis of a permit for [the patio] I wanted from the beginning, it's hard to accept! Especially considering the time I now have to invest and the fact that I have to make an application to the Régie des alcools—there goes my summer!"
This is hardly Holder's first brush with bewildering red tape. When he opened Majestique just over a year ago on Saint-Laurent, Holder wanted to restore the building's iconic Deli-Cité sign. After city officials told him how much the request would cost and how long it would take for the borough to review the application, Holder had a change of heart. "Guess what I did? Nothing. The sign has continued to deteriorate since."
ICYMI, longtime Plateau bistro Café Cherrier was mired in a terrasse snafu with the borough last summer.