Downtown patios get temporary reprieve 0
COLLINGWOOD - A bylaw that would have effectively taken restaurant patios off the main street sidewalk until the downtown redevelopment was done was deferred for two weeks.
Councillors decided the bylaw - which would repeal the existing patio bylaw - could wait until the legislation governing patio licensing came back to the table on June 14.
A bylaw likely would have waited until the downtown work was done - sometime in mid-July - however, there appeared to be a tacit suggestion the bylaw's introduction was hastened by the establishment of Duncan's Cafe patio a week-and-a-half ago.
Duncan's owner Sean Cripps was granted a permit based on the existing bylaw; that reportedly set off a firestorm of emails between councillors.
The permit for Cripps' patio, however, was issued on the basis the existing patio would be repealed, CAO Kim Wingrove told councillors on Monday night.
Councillor Ian Chadwick said council should hold off repealing the existing bylaw, and give restaurant owners the chance to "make a bit of money," especially given the favourable weather conditions the last couple of weeks.
"Too often we're accused of being closed for business, and I'd like to show that we're not," he said.
Councillor Mike Edwards said if council passed the bylaw, "we're saying we don't want patios, and that's not the intention of what we were trying to accomplish."
The licensing bylaw would move the patios to curbside; a first draft of the bylaw would limit the width to two feet inside of either side of the business frontage; when the redevelopment was pitched, restaurant owners were told they could negotiate with neighbouring businesses to extend the width of their patios.
Clerk Sara Almas indicated there were changes to the draft bylaw, including on the section governing restaurant patios, based on feedback from councillors.
Restaurant owners have resisted the idea of moving the patios to the curb, citing health and safety concerns for wait staff crossing a pedestrian walkway to serve customers, and provincial rules that ban carrying alcohol across public space.
Several attempts to change council's direction at the table have thus far failed, with a narrow majority of councillors supporting the move of the patios for accessiblity.
Publicly, the decision has not proven popular, and Edwards noted the fact Duncan's patio has been full "is an indication of what the people want."
Councillor Tim McNabb, who is advocating the move of the patios, said he wanted the decision deferred - as long as the town had not set a precedent giving Duncan's a patio licence.
He noted the existing bylaw specifies a patio not be within 2.5 metres of an obstruction such as a lightpole or tree; Duncan's patio is about a metre-and-a-half away from a tree that was planted as part of the redevelopment.
The municipality's lawyer, Leo Longo, said the municipality had not set a precedent, and the municipal act gave the town the ability to deal with applications based on their individual merits.
The argument of precedent, he said, "wouldn't carry the day."
Council supported a deferral by a vote of 7-1; Councillor Sonny Foley was the lone negative vote.