Downtown patios to open this summer


By Barb McKay


Diners in Kincardine get to try out a new venue this summer.


During its meeting last Wednesday, Kincardine council agreed to allow downtown restaurants to set up outdoor patios at the front of their establishments. In a presentation, community services co-ordinator Steve Murray explained that expanding restaurants onto public sidewalks during the warmer months is one of the newer trends in tourism and is an opportunity for local businesses to increase their revenues.


“Having been in a lot of small communities that have this, those (outdoor seats) are the seats that are filled first,” agreed councillor Candy Hewitt.


Murray said businesses can apply to the municipality for sidewalk patios for a fee of $200. Patio space on the sidewalk and parking spaces in front of the establishment can be leased for 25 cents per square foot per month. Business owners would be responsible for setting up temporary sidewalks on the parking spaces and storing them during the off season. Staff recommended that the municipality waive the fees for the first year because the businesses will have the cost of building the temporary sidewalks.


Councillor Ron Coristine said he was pleased to see the proposal brought forward because it is something the BIA and Tourism Table has been championing.


Councillor Ken Craig said he supported the idea, but did not agree with waiving the fees for the first year. He said he would rather see the fees cut in half for the first two years.


“It’s the cost of doing business,” he said.


Craig also noted that temporary fencing should be considered between the patios and the road for safety.


Councillor Jacqueline Faubert suggested that the proposal be taken to the Kincardine police services board for review and council agreed. The request for outdoor patios on Queen Street will be brought back to the March 19 council meeting for consideration.