La graine brûlée coffee is an oasis of color and life. Inside, we forget that we are on the dullest stretch of Sainte-Catherine Street East between the Berri-UQAM and Beaudry metro stations. There is a “Nintendo cocoon” for families and UQAM students work there until 10 p.m. each evening.

It is a business that gives hope for the future of the Village, but our optimism takes a hit when we go outside.

Next to it, the old Yellow is empty. Opposite, the owner of the Da Silva restaurant has shut down. “Everything has closed around us,” laments Marie-Ève ​​Koué, co-owner of La graine brûlée.

She and her partners opened the café in 2016, two years after the one called Oui mais non in a completely different and quieter neighborhood, Villeray.

Why the Village? “Because of the name. When we jokingly launched the name La graine brûlée, we thought that the café could not open anywhere but in the Village. »

“We had no apprehension and were excited to be on a groovy pedestrian street,” she continues.

However, Marie-Ève ​​Koué quickly realized that the sector is “funky”, but not always for the right reasons. Toilets clogged with a syringe are commonplace, she says. “It must not continue to deteriorate. »

Hence the idea of ​​the petition1 which ends this Sunday and which will be tabled in the National Assembly by Manon Massé, Solidarity MP for Sainte-Marie–Saint-Jacques.

The signatories ask the Minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, to create an intergovernmental permanent committee that will monitor the issues that threaten the emancipation of the Village.

A few days after the petition was launched last March by the Village’s Commercial Development Company (SDC), Valérie Plante’s administration announced the creation of an “intergovernmental crisis cell” (with the police and the health) to help the neighborhood. A recovery plan for the Village is also to be announced shortly, following a forum held last September.

Why the petition? ” It’s time. There are two speeds”, explains Gabrielle Rondy, director general of the SDC.

There is the speed of merchants who can go bankrupt in a month and that of elected municipal and provincial officials who pass the buck2. “They have to sit together. »

We could be pessimistic about the future, because pipe works will tear up Sainte-Catherine Street East, but that will come with new developments. “Let’s take advantage of this to make a street that can accommodate millions of people in the summer, but that is also pleasant, attractive and safe all year round,” argues Gabrielle Rondy.

Because if Sainte-Catherine Street East is a tourist destination, it is also a living environment. And it will be more and more so with the approximately 20,000 new residents expected in the neighborhood, thanks to projects like the Esplanade Cartier, Auguste

About a month ago, the SDC also met with real estate developers who are building projects near the Village. “We can unite our voices. »

“Vacant premises are opportunities,” explains Gabrielle Rondy.

She would like to see more neighborhood businesses open. “If you’re not hungry and you’re not thirsty, there’s not much to do in the Village,” she says.

You have to walk down Rue Sainte-Catherine Est (the terraces are set up!) between Rue Berri and Avenue Papineau to see how the Village is at a crossroads. Our eyes are both drawn to the trendy awning of Bar Renard, but also to the fire Drugstore still abandoned.

We note that Tite Frette – which would sell microbrewery products – has gone bankrupt, but that the chic Arte et Farina bakery has just opened opposite. The Sabbya Medical Spa will also soon be welcoming clients.

“The street is changing,” says Gabrielle Rondy.

But the SDC needs help to “protect the Village”. “It’s an extraordinary neighborhood where everyone can live out their identity,” recalls Gabrielle Rondy.

Marie-Ève ​​Koué would like to perpetuate throughout the year what she loves so much about the Village on summer evenings. “A joy in the air and a beautiful mix of people. »