Roadside patio and sidewalk cafés allowed through 2021

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BLUEWATER – Outdoor dining will be allowed to continue on the municipality’s roadsides through the 2021 season after councillors agreed to extend a COVID-19 measure from last year.

Councillors passed a motion during the Feb. 16 regular council meeting which will allow roadside patio and sidewalk cafés as well as waive the $125 encroachment fee for the businesses operating them.

According to a report presented during the meeting, the municipality has issued five café permits in Bayfield and one in Zurich, and it’s anticipated that restaurants will face restrictions through the 2021 season which are similar to those they faced in 2020.

“Overall feedback was positive with permit holders expressing interest in continuing the patio/sidewalk cafés into the 2021 summer season,” wrote manager of public works Dave Kester in the report. “Based on feedback and complaints reviewed regarding the patio encroachments, some amendments are proposed to be made to the new 2021 bylaw.”


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Changes to the 2021 bylaw include a review of music allowed on the patio cafés and a minimum business operating hour requirement to ensure “adequate” patio usage and provide validation of the reduction of parking spaces along Bayfield’s Main Street.

“For the 2021 season I have no issue supporting,” said Coun. Bill Whetsone. “After that, I will have a struggle supporting this going forward. In chatting with different restaurants around the Bayfield area, I would say 50 per cent of the restaurants are not supportive of doing this on a permanent basis.”

The financial impact on the municipality was estimated in the report to be around $750 from the loss of revenue from the permitting process.

Other council notes:

Options for old Zurich library

A report outlining the municipality’s options for the disposition of the former Zurich library and municipal office were discussed during the meeting.

According to the report, councillors can choose to sell the property “as is” for development, demolish the building and remediate the site to retain the property as open space, or demolish the building to sell the property as vacant development land.

In response to the report, Coun. Shawn LaPorte made a motion to investigate the sale of the property “as is” and to have a report prepared by staff outlining the process which passed unanimously.

The property at 50 Main St. W. has remained vacant for two years after mold was identified as a hazard in the building, though there has recently been interest from potential buyers in developing the building for residential purposes.

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