Council set to adopt seasonal patio bylaw

Council passes third reading of seasonal patio bylaw that will allow local businesses to have outdoor patios.

Council passed third reading of a seasonal patio bylaw on Monday night as a few councillors expressed a sense of urgency as summer has already arrived.

City planner Rob Veg led council through some amendments and updates on the bylaw based on public feedback since it last came up in council chambers.

Councillors Tom Shypitka, Ron Popoff and Isaac Hockley led the charge in pushing to get the bylaw passed so that local businesses could start setting up patios for the summer season.

However, while third reading was passed, it won’t be adopted until the next council meeting on July 18th.

“My worst nightmare right now with this is nobody jumping on board because summer’s half over, why should I go through all the hoops just for a month or two,” said Shypitka.

“…I want to get as many people get on board with this, this summer, as we possibly can so we can see what the problems are, because this is our best chance right now. This year’s kind of a write-off, so this is a perfect opportunity to troubleshoot what the problems may be, make it wide open, then we can address it and fine-tune it for next year.”

However, now that third reading is passed, business owners interested in setting up a seasonal patio can stop by City Hall and get their hands on the draft bylaw and application form outlining all the pertinent details to get started on the construction of an outdoor patio, if they wish.

When the bylaw is approved on July 18, any patios that meet the city’s requirements will be legal.

“The draft application form is 99 per cent finished,” said Veg. “The patio guide is 99 per cent finished. People can certainly come in to see us now and get everything they need if we’re not going to make any more changes to the bylaw to be ready for that timeline as well.

“There’s time that they can come in and see us and I can give them the draft guide which lays out the bylaw and those kind of things.”

The bylaw was tweaked from when it last came to council with some changes to the fee structure and the application forms.

Amendments include a reduction in the parking stall fee to $50 for each parallel spot or angle parking spot and rise to $300 in 2018 and beyond.

The application will be a $50 up-front fee with a $25 renewal fee. Shypitka pushed for waiving those fees for the first year, along with the waiving of a $500 security deposit, however, the fee structure will stand.

The seasonal patio form will be a single form as opposed to two, as business owners were previously required to fill out a building permit. The single form will have a box that, once checked, will trigger the involvement of a building inspector.

May 1 – Oct 31 is the window for a seasonal patio that will be a permanent structure over that time frame; businesses with smaller bistro tables that are removed from the sidewalks daily can go right to Dec. 31 if they wish.

If any business wished to barbecue on their outdoor patio, letters of approval from adjacent business owners must be obtained, provincial regulatory conditions must be met and proper fire safety procedures must be followed.