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May. 27, 2022 | Friday
Local News
COVID-19: Restaurants can expand patios onto town parking spots – for a price
The patio at The Gate House. (Richard Harley)

As part of its strategy to help restaurants recover from the COVID-19 shutdown, the town has allowed six restaurant patios to open on private property and has 12 permits still waiting to be approved.

Some of the patios opened Friday, including the Sandtrap Pub & Grill, Irish Harp Pub, Gate House and Fournos Restaurant.

Coun. Allan Bisback told council Monday night that he was on Queen Street a lot during the weekend and commended the town on getting patios open quickly.

Businesses requesting to expand into municipal parking spaces on the roadway are required to pay a fee equal to what the parking space would have generated in a full day.

Costs for parking spaces range between $32.50 and $37.50 per day.

“The breakdown for the typical model for cost recovery on paid parking is based on 100 per cent occupancy for the full day,” said town spokesperson Lauren Kruitbosch in response to questions from The Lake Report.

Kruitbosch said town staff suggested council only charge businesses half of the top daily rate, for a total of $18.75 per day.  

Coun. Wendy Cheropita said she has received a number of calls from businesses complaining about the fees for parking spaces. As of Monday, only one business had applied to use a town parking space, Kruitbosch said.

Cheropita proposed waiving the parking fees entirely until Sept. 30, given that the merchants have been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic.

However, her motion was defeated and council did not agree to decrease the fees.

Coun. Gary Burroughs asked if the emergency control group has considered letting businesses other than restaurants use extra space.

“They’re also restricted and it seems to me we’re not treating all of the business community the same,” he said.

Interim chief administrator Sheldon Randall said the emergency group is focused solely on restaurants because “they’ve been impacted the hardest through the COVID emergencies,”

“A lot of retailers had the opportunity to open up to customers prior to that, and again, restaurants not so much,” he said.

Burroughs questioned whether that can be rationalized to businesses that haven’t been allowed to expand.

Randall said there’s been some delay with permits for expansion onto municipal roads.

“We just want to make sure that anybody working on a municipal right-of-way, or near or on a road, are doing what they need to do to be sure everyone is safe, and it’s a safe work site,” he said.