City council approved a plan for temporary pandemic patios to become permanent in March 2023, but are now going back to make revisions after leaving some businesses behind.
5th Street Pub on Hillside Avenue and the Beagle on Cook Street both had patio allowances granted to them during the COVID-19 pandemic so customers could sit outside, but both of their patios were placed upon ‘boulevards’, which is the grassy space between a sidewalk and road.
Boulevard patios and those two businesses in particular were left out of the new legislation initially, because there was concern that the patios might do damage to the public space.
5th Street Pub received word from the city in April that their patio must be packed up by May 31st, but the business, its customers and their dogs as well as the community all came to appreciate the grassy patio space tucked away on Fifth Street.
On April 14th, 5th Street Pub launched an online petition which pleaded with the city to amend the new permanent patio bylaw to allow them to stay, or at least give them the opportunity to keep their patio open through the spring and summer seasons.
That petition garnered its goal of 1,500 signatures within 15 hours of its launch.
Mayor Marianne Alto put forth a council member motion at the committee of the whole meeting on April 27th to appease the businesses left out of the patio bylaw and amend it to include boulevard space patios, within reason.
“The amendment is intended to essentially broaden the possibility of staff looking at a variety of additional potential places for public patios,” explained Mayor Alto.
“Looking at doing that larger sort of consideration with an eye to being able to allow staff to consider unique opportunities that may or may not actually be enabled by the specifics of the existing bylaw.”
While the amendment was being discussed, Councillor Chris Coleman applauded city staff on how quickly they pulled together the bylaws and regulations surrounding the temporary patios that have thrived.
“What we did over three years was create a patio culture that perhaps was unexpected,” laughed Coleman. “It’s worked, really well.”
Coleman also noted that by setting the cutoff for patios to cease and desist on May 31st was in poor judgment, as it’s the beginning of the season when patrons of these pubs want to be on the patios.
Mayor Alto said the end-date Coleman referred to that is impacting these businesses will be brought up in a motion at next week’s council meeting, so that issue was left to be discussed at a later time.
From here, city staff will organize and investigate the patios left behind as well as the opportunity for other businesses to have boulevard patios.