Duncan’s patio as it finally ended up.
What Duncan’s patio would have looked like curbside.
The “patio debacle” as I like to call it was the defining issue of the last municipal election. I have talked to many people about this and it seems this one issue ended up defining Chris Carriers time as mayor of Collingwood and all the perceived wrongs of that administration. I never really did understand the nuances of that particular community splitting issue because at the time it never really directly affected me.
Continuing on the theme of revisiting local scandals, boondoggles and brouhaha’s of the past. I have decided to revisit that particular situation and give it a “Nobody” spin:
In 2007 it was decided that the tired looking downtown needed a complete revitalization. In December of that year a committee was set up to make that happen, it was called “Downtown Collingwood”. During the design phase it was determined that in order to accommodate new trees, light standards and street furniture and to optimize accessibility by providing a straight, wide pedestrian walkways it would be necessary to move local eating establishments patios to the curb side of the sidewalk. Moving the patio’s to the curb side would supposedly allow for improved accessibility for those with disabilities.
Council approved the design of the downtown revitalization project in April 2009 and approved the funding September 2009.
The following is an excerpt from a staff report by then CAO Kim Wingrove presented to council on 30th November 2009
Challenges with moving the patios include:
1. Additional costs and regulatory requirements for business owners wishing to have licensed patios (additional liquor license, purchase of a portable refrigerated bar, power service to curb side location.
2.Increased liability to both the Town and the business owners due to potential conflicts between servers and pedestrians,
3. Town of Collingwood Fire Services have raised concerns regarding fixed patio fencing
hampering access to businesses in an emergency.
Downtown Collingwood met with their membership on two occasions (November 4 and November 17) to communicate the proposed changes and solicit feedback.
On November 19th, Downtown Collingwood provided the following resolution to the town:
“After reviewing the plan and the information received, the BIA Board of Management continues to support the Downtown Collingwood Streetscape Plan as it is. The board believes that the work undertaken to develop the plan took all issues into consideration and that the committee developed a plan that addresses issues of public space and accessibility. It also feels that it presents a plan that is fair to all businesses, regardless of their location and will give all businesses the ability to make use the new public space to build their business. The board does understand that the change presents challenges to some businesses, primarily those restaurants with existing outdoor patios. Understanding that these challenges will result in unexpected expenses to create the new model, the BIA is meeting with them to understand the possible expenses and developing a funding model to assist them in the transition to the new plan. It is expected that this will be similar to the process undertaken when patios were initiated, when assistance was given to help with the design phase and necessary capital
Downtown Collingwood has publicly expressed their intention to examine ways to provide financial assistance (purchasing some of the necessary equipment, for example) to assist restaurant owners with meeting the additional costs required by the relocation of the patios.
If the licensed patios were to remain adjacent to the buildings, the current patio bylaw will need to be amended to fix the depth of patios at 2m (rather than the current 2.5m). This would require amending the design to be flexible with regard to the width of the pedestrian walkway in front of those establishments. Essentially, the width of the pedestrian walkway at those locations would be 1.35m, rather than the 2.1m.
So the issues above are quite clear. Reading between the lines I would infer that Kim Wingrove was not a big fan of moving the patios.
That same evening the patio issue went to vote at town council. There was a first vote that essentially would have put the patio issue on hold until the all financial implications to patio owners were known. That was defeated it wasn’t a recorded vote but I can only assume that it was the same voting block as below.
Then the following:
The above is interesting, firstly take a look at where Chris Carrier was on this issue. Then take a look at all the people on council that voted to move the patios curbside. McNabb, Foley, Labelle not just beaten but trounced from council. Sandberg doubled by Lloyd. Jeffery reduced to third place behind unknown Mike Young for mayors chair. All the people that were against moving the patios away from the buildings are now on town council, except for Chris Carrier, who didn’t run for any position. I would definitely say this issue shaped the last election. I will also draw a parallel on the rec “tents” situation in the next election I believe that will be the defining issue.
It should also be noted that Rick Lloyd was a member of the executive of the BIA and was originally a big proponent of the patios being moved curbside. He flip flopped on the issue after the restaurant owners made their concerns public and obviously figured it would hurt his run for Deputy Mayor. He then used it as a wedge issue against his opponent Norm Sandberg in the 2010 election. A consummate politician!!!
Lastly, next time you hear someone call it “Carriers stupid patio bylaw”, he voted against moving them curbside, it was always Rick Lloyds stupid patio bylaw.