MEAT has a small patio taking up part of the sidewalk now, but plans to run the same extended patio it had through the pandemic. Haas says she relies on the summer revenue from those extra tables to carry the restaurant through the rest of the year.
“We were assuming we could do the same thing as the previous year. So we were banking on that, because we hadn’t heard anything,” Haas says.
“It’s a bit of a kick in the teeth once you find out you have to build this whole apparatus scenario so that you can extend your patio.”
Shewkar Ibrahim, the city’s director of traffic operations, says the City developed the new guidelines through conversations with business owners last fall, and had to wait on the council’s budget approval. The City then reviewed applications from restaurants and clarified the guidelines through back-and-forth conversations.
“Throughout our engagement, the plan was always to begin the rolling out of the program in April,” she says.
Ibrahim says boardwalks and railings are important to handle increased traffic, and also to ensure the walkway is safe for people with accessibility issues, such as people in wheelchairs or parents pushing strollers.
Old Strathcona Business Association executive director Cherie Klassen says she can empathize with business owners who feel the new guidelines are a financial burden, especially when some are still recovering from pandemic losses.
The temporary pandemic patios, however, caused a lot of headaches.