Pop up patios to stay through the winter

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‘Pop up’ patios are here to stay this winter if Tillsonburg businesses wish to upgrade them for winter conditions.

Back in June, Tillsonburg town council gave its approval to eating establishments to use municipal property for outdoor summer patios, and later extended that approval to Nov. 1.

At its Oct. 26 meeting, council agreed to extend the temporary patio bylaw through the winter months, to allow the patios until at least the middle of March.

“I feel it’s important that we need to do everything we can for our businesses and you’ll be seeing winter patios pop up in many communities,” said Coun. Deb Gilvesy.

“Will this be put into place before Nov. 1 so that current patios can be extended forward?” Gilvesy asked.

“It’s the intent,” said town clerk Michelle Smibert. “Weather depending, we thought as Nov. 1 approaches some patio (owners) are likely going to take a look at purchasing those amenities that would make it a winter patio, and staff is willing to work with those restaurant and café owners to make sure that everything is in place in terms of the building code and fire code requirements.

“But from a staff prospective, if an outdoor patio wants to stay open for another two or three weeks into November without it being a winter patio – with the (winter) shelter – then that’s fine as well,” she added.

“I’m excited about this,” said Mayor Stephen Molnar, noting there may be an opportunity for a local business to investigate manufacturing dining pods.

“I think being creative and finding creative snow-load solutions are something we can work with and hopefully our development department’s working with the BIA and all community members that can take value from this opportunity.”

In total, the town received four applications to establish outdoor patios this summer, expanding their Covid-19 limited indoor seating areas.

Progress is being made at the new Van Norman Innovation Park in Tillsonburg with an agreement to sell a six-acre parcel of land to a numbered company (2776807 Ontario).

Town staff noted at the Oct. 26 council meeting that funds from the sale are anticipated in mid-2021.

“This transaction will be scheduled to close upon completion of a servicing work,” said Cephas Panschow, Development Commissioner, noting the funds could be used to offset the cost of that servicing.

cabbott@postmedia.com

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