Guelph city council debating options for future of patio season
GUELPH -- As a recent surge in temperatures is reminding Guelph residents of sunnier days eating and drinking outside, city council is debating options for the future of their patio season.
While the expanded patio sections in the downtown dining district was a popular option for many last summer, it was also implemented with little public process to help restaurants survive during new COVID-19 restrictions.
A staff report will be presented to Guelph City Council Monday and detail what the future of the patio program may look like.
"The engagement was incredibly extensive," said Christine Chapman, economic development manager for the city.
The patio extensions that closed the intersection of MacDonell and Wyndem Streets were favourable for bars and restaurants, but impacted other businesses in different ways.
"It brought a lot of foot traffic to our store as well," said Cam Sharer, a Med USA Manager. "But one thing that did frustrate people was not being able to find parking. We do have a new parking garage that just opened up, and it seems like we need to bring a little more awareness to that."
The report shows the biggest cost for the city was the purchase and rental of barrier walls that cost nearly $47,000. The re-routing of public transit also cost the city just over $40,000 as well.
"There were significant impacts on transit," said Chapman. "When you are looking at within a COVID-19 context, certainly ridership was down in 2020. This will be a really interesting way to see how the true impacts of transit are going to be realized."
The report proposes the closed road area shrink slightly from last year, which could save money and parking spots.
"That will allow us to better accommodate for some of that 15 minute short parking that's needed right along the boundary," said Chapman.
The proposal suggests three options of a permanent road closure for the summer months, an intermittent road closure for the weekends only, or closure for special events only.
Guelph council will debate the options at the Monday afternoon committee of the whole meeting.