On-street pa­tios on tap

Re­port rec­om­mends con­tin­u­ing pro­gram, per­mit­ting al­co­hol to be served

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - STEVE BUIST

On-street pa­tios could be­come a per­ma­nent part of Hamil­ton’s land­scape if coun­cil­lors ac­cept a staff rec­om­men­da­tion.

At Tues­day’s plan­ning com­mit­tee meet­ing, coun­cil­lors will be asked to turn last year’s pi­lot project into a per­ma­nent on-street pa­tio pro­gram that would op­er­ate from May 1 to Oct. 31 within the city’s Business Im­prove­ment Ar­eas and Com­mu­nity Im­prove­ment Plan Ar­eas.

Up to 30 slots were avail­able last year but only eight business op­er­a­tors par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gram.

In a switch from last year’s pi­lot project, the staff re­port rec­om­mends that al­co­hol ser­vice be per­mit­ted if a li­censed es­tab­lish­ment ob­tains a per­ma­nent li­cence ex­ten­sion from the Al­co­hol and Gam­ing Com­mis­sion of On­tario.

But any restau­rants or pubs want­ing to take part in the on-street pa­tio pro­gram could face some hefty costs for what amounts to an on-street space equal to the size of one park­ing spot.

First, there’s a $400 ad­min­is­tra­tion fee to be paid to the city for each on-street spot. An al­co­hol per­mit ex­ten­sion car­ries an $815 fee paid to AGCO.

As well, an al­co­hol per­mit ex­ten­sion re­quires com­ments and in­spec­tions un­der­taken by the city that cost a fur­ther $499.

On top of all that, each pa­tio op­er­a­tor must carry $5 mil­lion in com­mer­cial gen­eral li­a­bil­ity in­surance.

There’s also the po­ten­tial cost of con­struct­ing a pa­tio and stor­ing it off-sea­son, or rent­ing a struc­ture.

Ac­cord­ing to the staff re­port, all eight par­tic­i­pants in last year’s pi­lot project were sur­veyed and “felt that the pi­lot was a suc­cess and they fully sup­port a per­ma­nent pro­gram.” The re­port also states 113 pa­tio pa­trons re­sponded to a sur­vey and “97 per cent were in sup­port of the pa­tio pro­gram.”

Kerry Jarvi, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Down­town BIA, said her as­so­ci­a­tion is “fully sup­port­ive” of on-street pa­tios. “It adds a great vi­brancy,” Jarvi said. Two of last year’s on-street pa­tios were lo­cated on King Wil­liam Street for the side-by­side eater­ies Hm­brgr and FSH & CHP.

“It re­ally added some­thing to King Wil­liam,” said Jarvi.

Last year, the owner of the Snooty Fox pub in West­dale said he with­drew from the pi­lot project be­cause al­co­hol couldn’t be served.

Jor­dan Geertsma said he de­cided it wasn’t worth the cost. One pa­tio the size of one park­ing spot would have room for only one ta­ble, he said.

Mu­sic or live en­ter­tain­ment may also be per­mit­ted with the on-street pa­tios de­pend­ing on how coun­cil han­dles a pend­ing pi­lot project by­law re­lated to noise and out­door pa­tios.

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