Meaford’s Council has voted in favour of extending the outdoor patio pilot program for 2021.
The outdoor patio pilot was a life-saver for some of Meaford’s downtown restaurants last year, with indoor gatherings being restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Councillors were unanimous in their decision to extend the program into 2021.
The patio pilot project was first approved by Council in 2015, however until the COVID-19 experience, local restaurants had not taken advantage of the program to establish patios. In 2020, four restaurants took advantage of the patio pilot program.
“By the end of 2020,there was lots of knowledge gained and feedback received on how to improve the outdoor patio program and continue to employ it as a mechanism to support local economic recovery during COVID,” staff told Council in a report presented at Council’s March 8 meeting.
In addition to extending the program into 2021, Council also approved the waiving of the outdoor patio application fee of $200, and it directed staff to bring forward an Outdoor Patio Policy by March of next year to establish a permanent patio program.
Council also approved a staff recommendation to continue grant funding for new patios in 2021.
“Last year, Council endorsed the approval of grant funding from the Downtown and Economic Community Improvement Plans (CIP) to cover a portion of costs by businesses for establishing a temporary patio that could support their continued operations during the Municipalities’ declared COVID-19 State of Emergency,” staff told Council. “It is staff’s recommendation that the CIP be available again in 2021 for the identical purposes as last year. The funding would be available to eligible businesses who did not receive grant funding in 2020 and provide 50% match funding from the Façade Improvement Grant program (Downtown CIP) or from the Buildings and Land Improvement Grant (Economic CIP) to a maximum of $7,500.”
Members of Council were pleased to see the program extended into 2021, and voted unanimously in favour of the extension of the program.
Photo: The Leeky Canoe was one of the restaurants to establish an outdoor patio in 2020. Photo: Helen Solmes