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Council agrees to no street barrier fees for restaurants with temporary patio

Restaurants only required to have liability insurance up to $2 million
(Left to right) Burlington Downtown Business Association Executive Director Brian Dean, BDBA Chair Liza Bouchard-Bain and Saverio Valerio of Pop Up Street Patios show off one of the new planter boxes that were installed in Burlington's downtown dining district last year.

Restaurant owners with a seasonal patio just got a break from Burlington council.

They won’t have to pay a fee to build road barriers around their patio and they won’t have to increase liability insurance to $5 million after it went to a vote at Council’s committee of the whole meeting Feb. 6.

Council accepted the application fee for temporary patios on public lands at just under $500 with an additional season patio permit fee of $40. Restaurants will not be required to pay a fee for the installation of barriers.

Business owners will also be required to have liability insurance for their patios of $2 million after staff had initially recommended requiring liability insurance up to $5 million.

“I think it’s public knowledge that the restaurant industry says it’s been operating with $2 million of insurance for many years and they have never had any charges or awards to them in excess of $2 million,” said Ward 5 councillor Paul Sharman.

The city already has liability insurance up to $5 million for the sidewalks and the city is installing barriers to provide safety from vehicular traffic, he added.

Breweries, wineries and distilleries that are licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will be allowed to have a patio.

Patios will no longer be limited to 50 per cent of the establishment’s indoor capacity. The patio’s capacity will require a minimum of 1.1 square metres per person.

The process to get approval for a patio on private property is more simplified. Business owners are still required to comply with zoning bylaws, but engineering drawings are only needed for patios or by-passes that are on the street.

Temporary patios on private property that have fencing, tables and chairs don’t meet the definition of development for the site plan application. Businesses that have approval from the AGCO can set those up, provided they meet the city’s zoning bylaws, according to city planner Nikolas Wensing.

The season for temporary patios extends from April 15 to Oct. 31 each year.

Council accepted recommendations to continue to allow patios and by-passes on the street as well as the permitting processes and application fees.

The decision will go to council on Tuesday (Feb. 13).


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Laura Broadley

About the Author: Laura Broadley

Laura Broadley has been a journalist covering local news all across southern Ontario for almost a decade
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