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Outdoor dining just around the corner in downtown Barrie

'It’s a sure sign that spring is coming because the BIA (Business Improvement Area) is talking about patios,’ says Coun. Craig Nixon

Patio time is practically upon us in downtown Barrie.

The patio program will now run from the second Friday in April, or April 12 this year, until Nov. 15 on an annual basis.

A direct motion passed by city council locks down that time frame.

“This is more to define it so there’s a set period every year, and in this case it only makes a couple of days difference,” said Coun. Craig Nixon, who represents the downtown. “They just want to make sure that they are able to put them (patios) out come Friday (April 12), as opposed to a particular date that might be a Sunday.

“They’d obviously rather have them out on a Friday, and with the warmer weather coming, hopefully the second Friday of April is a nice warm day.”

This was done by amending the city’s businesses licensing bylaw so the downtown BIA patio program season is defined as the second Friday of April through to Nov. 15, aligning it with the city’s winter control and spring cleanup maintenance schedule.

“It’s a sure sign that spring is coming because the BIA (Business Improvement Area) is talking about patios,” said Nixon.

Downtown businesses can take advantage of the warm weather by offering outdoor dining experiences, in close proximity to the waterfront.

Patios located in the Downtown Barrie BIA are on city property. Downtown establishments can extend outdoor patios to the edge of the street. People traffic is maintained through temporary sidewalks, designed for pedestrian safety and temporarily located on some on-street parking spaces. 

Interested business owners should contact the BIA, as its pre-approval for a patio is required.

The city has a first-time $400 outdoor patio application fee, which covers administrative costs associated with the issuance of a right-of-way activity permit and one inspection. The lease rate is 40 cents per square foot, per month, for the lease of city sidewalk space for use as an outdoor patio, as per city policy for outdoor patios on city right-of-ways.

Hours of operation for patios on private property are governed under the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

Businesses located outside of the Downtown Barrie BIA interested in applying for a patio permit can contact the city’s enforcement services at [email protected], by phone at 705-739-4241 or in person at 45 Cedar Pte. Dr. in Barrie.