Ottawa restaurateurs feeling the pinch over sinkhole

The cause of Ottawa’s giant downtown sinkhole remains a mystery, but one neighbouring restaurant owner is already considering a class-action lawsuit to recoup lost money.

Dave Mangano, owner of Metropolitan Brasserie on Sussex, says his business is still reeling from a two-day closure, following the Rideau Street collapse on Wednesday morning.

Though the doors re-opened on Friday afternoon – after crews reconnected the natural gas line and inspected the water quality – Mr. Mangano says people are hesitant to face downtown traffic detours.

“We’re still getting cancellations – people who are booking for this week who are coming from out of town and cancelling their trips,” he said.

By the end of this week, Mr. Mangano figures his business will lose $100,000 because of the sinkhole.

“You don’t get that back,” he said. “You basically have to suck it up.”

It could be two months before the public hears what caused the road collapse, as the city continues to investigate. Workers with light rail construction firm RTG were excavating the tunnel when the sinkhole opened.

Mr. Mangano said he's already in talks with other downtown business owners and a lawyer about launching a class-action suit.

It’s unfortunate timing for many businesses. As the weather turns warmer, wedding and conference season also heats up.

“(Last) weekend, we did about half of what we normally do,” said Chris LeBelle, general manager of Milestones on Sussex. “With grads and things happening, this is a busy time of year for us.”

Mr. LeBelle could not confirm whether the Milestones owner was considering taking legal action, but estimates the restaurant lost about $40,000 between Wednesday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, construction crews have "stabilized" the sinkhole, according to city manager Steve Kanellakos.

He emailed a memo to council on Monday, confirming that "significant progress" has been made on repairing the damage.

After finishing the first concrete pour last week, crews spent the weekend removing water that pooled in the LRT tunnel.

They have also constructed a ramp, allowing workers to safely access the site.

This article originally appeared on on June 14.