MORRISBURG – From the sounds of it, South Dundas council can hardly wait to endorse allowing outdoor patios in the municipality’s two plazas.
Outdoor patios are something that a couple of local restaurant owners have been wanting to add to their establishments, but South Dundas municipal staff have been denying those requests.
South Dundas council however wants to turn those nos into yeses.
“Currently, it’s not allowed in our bylaw,” said South Dundas chief administrative officer Shannon Geraghty. However staff will start working on a new outdoor patio bylaw for council approval.
“I was surprised to learn that a local restaurant had wanted to apply and was actually turned down,” said South Dundas deputy mayor Kirsten Gardner. “That contravenes our willingness to improve economic development and tourism.”
She added that plenty of other communities allow outdoor patios without much difficulty and she hopes that when they are allowed here that it won’t be too difficult a process for the business owners.
“I don’t understand why, especially in our malls, we don’t encourage this.”
“Patios add vibrancy, life and colour,” she said.
“We have small business owners that are being creative and want to invest money to make our infrastructure better. Why would we not?”
“I don’t want this to be an exercise in frustration for business owners,” said Gardner as a caution to staff. “I’m hoping that the staff member in charge really looks at it and we can come to some conclusion that makes it an easy process.”
Referring to the application that was turned down Gardner said, “That business owner has already been penalized by not being able to do it (open a patio) this season. If we drag our heels we’re only furthering what is a frustrating situation. And, it spreads throughout the community as to why it’s not open.”
“I’m strongly for something like this,” reiterated Gardner. “It’s exactly where we need to go.”
“I don’t see an issue with outdoor patios,” said South Dundas councillor Donald Lewis. “It would most likely bring more visitors.”
“As long as there’s some kind of separation barrier from the general public and the patio area so it’s not impeding pedestrian traffic it should be good,” said South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan.
South Dundas councillor Lloyd Wells agreed that having outdoor patios would be good because they bring the area to life.
Geraghty said that in his research he found that communities usually lease a portion of the sidewalk area to those wanting the outdoor patio and with that comes insurance requirements.
Once a draft is complete, staff will bring the new bylaw back to council for final approval.