Thunder Bay – BUSINESS – Many Thunder Bay’s businesses continue to be impacted by the pandemic and it is anticipated that local retailers and restaurants may not be able to operate at full capacity again this spring. To offer assistance, a Report requesting that the 2020 special Patio Program be extended to include the 2021 patio season was presented and approved by City Council last night.
“In 2020, the City processed and approved 38 temporary patios within private parking lots on City streets and sidewalks,” said Mayor Bill Mauro. “Assistance was also given to The Waterfront Business Improvement Area in establishing the Red River Road Streatery, which was received with positive feedback. The City is now offering the ability for businesses to once again expand their space outdoors during the warmer months at little to no costs to help mitigate some of the financial impacts businesses have endured due to the pandemic.”
To assist businesses with implementing patios last year, the City expedited patio application reviews, adjusted specifications, facilitated street closures, made available City owned parking lots/spaces, waived certain zoning enforcements, made available picnic tables and jersey barriers, established preapproved designs, and waived all related fees.
The City is now able to offer these services once again. Applicants that wish to use City owned land are required to meet certain minimum specifications and enter into an agreement with the City. In addition, use of a portion of private parking lots for outdoor patios will need to be registered with the City. Business owners are expected to follow all public health guidelines such as capacity limits and physical distancing guidelines.
The patio opportunities include:
- Patios in private parking lots or other hard surfaces;
- Patios in municipal parking lots;
- Pop-up patio structures in the parking lane;
- Patio space in the parking lane directly on the asphalt where accessibility standards can be met (typically wide streets with one lane of traffic in the applicable direction, a minimum of 6.3m between the curb face and centre line and a curb height of 150mm or lower);
- Sidewalk patios (where clearance for pedestrians can be maintained);
- Possible street closures to enable dining areas on streets within Business Improvement/ Business Association areas.