City of Brantford council members showed their support to permit seasonal outdoor patios permanently during the Committee of the Whole Planning and Administration meeting on Tuesday, June 14.
The motion to allow restaurants to continue their seasonal patios, which still needs to pass at the council meeting on Tuesday, June 28, was unanimously supported by the 11 council members.
In June 2020, the city passed a resolution to allow the expansion of private and on-street patios to support restaurants in the height of COVID-19.
“When you look back at the pandemic, especially the beginning, the restaurant sector really took it on the chin,” Mayor Kevin Davis said. “I look back with pride of just how adaptable the restauranteurs in our city were. For many restaurants, this has been a godsend. It has allowed them to increase their capacity which has been essential to help them recover.”
City staff said that applications for about 30 temporary outdoor private patios have been received since 2020. None of the applications were for on-street patios.
“This plan provides businesses the opportunity for continued economic recovery, as well as a chance to enhance the community by providing added character, vibrancy and a sense of place,” said Joe Muto, manager of development planning for the City of Brantford, who presented the information to council.
Nicole Wilmot, Brantford’s director of planning, told councillors that since 2020, they have only had between two and three complaints a year about the patios that related to smoking and amplified sound, with all being resolved.
Under the regulations: outdoor patios will be allowed from May 1 to Oct. 31; recreation and entertainment can’t be amplified and cause a nuisance to neighbours; patios must be adjacent to the existing restaurant or business; accessible parking and associated walkways must be maintained; and patios must be set back a minimum of five metres from a residential zone
“On my travels, I’ve noticed that outdoor patios add to the atmosphere, the excitement and the vibrancy of cities and towns,” Councillor John Utley said. “I see this as a catalyst to open up that.
So I think this is great for the city, it really adds to our culture.”
Councillor Joshua Wall said that while the pandemic was tragic, it also was an opportunity to be creative and innovative.
“I know that this patio thing has been something we’ve been talking about for years,” Councillor Wall said. “I hope we see more innovation, more creativity, more ideas on how we can do things different because I think many of us would all agree that things need to change.”