BIA fights councillor’s proposal to repeal patio policy

 In News

The Creemore BIA is asking council to reject or delay a proposal put forward by Councillor Robert McArthur to repeal a policy allowing bump-outs and sidewalk patios.

Members of the BIA were blindsided by the motion that was included on Monday’s council agenda, six weeks before the patios are scheduled to open.

BIA treasurer Sara Hershoff spoke in opposition to the motion, which was on the March 27 agenda but was withdrawn when McArthur was suddenly called away from council chambers due to a family emergency. The item is included on the April 3 agenda.

“If the policy is repealed it is going to create a black hole for the businesses that are currently in the process of finalizing their applications, staffing their restaurants, creating the infrastructure, and planning for the all-important summer season,” said Hershoff.

The BIA is asking council to hold off on making a change to allow time to work out the kinks and address concerns about the use of parking spaces.

“It isn’t perfect, it never will be. Things change. We can change these things incrementally by working together. Repealing is not the answer,” said Hershoff.

Council endorsed the On-Street Patio Policy on Sept. 12 after directing staff to investigate the implementation of a policy relating to on-street seasonal patios in the downtown cores as part of a plan by former Creemore councillor Thom Paterson to create off-street parking facilities and upgrade the pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of Mill Street and Caroline Street among other parking and pedestrian initiatives to improve the downtown core.

“The pandemic outbreak that started in 2020 changed the way business was done and Clearview was no exception. Our restaurants in particular had to close all indoor seating. During that summer, the Township of Clearview opted to allow patios to be used in front of restaurants. While these patios caused interruptions to sidewalk travel and took up valuable parking spots, most people agreed for the short term, this was a great way to support these businesses. All this was allowed at no cost to the business,” wrote

McArthur in a report to council. “Now that we are back to more normal times and in-house seating has no restrictions, it’s time to support all our businesses and residents. With parking at a premium, every parking spot is needed and sidewalks are an integral part providing pedestrians safe passage from store to store.”

In June 2020 the Ontario government allowed licensed restaurants and bars to temporarily extend outdoor patio spaces. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario required that licensed establishments have municipal approval. At that time the Creemore BIA and other members of the business community began working with township staff to establish a process for patio expansion approval.

As a result, the on-street and sidewalk patio guideline and policy was created and adopted by council, without specifically relating to the pandemic.

“Without this patio, Chez Michel is not a viable business,” said Chez Michel owner Milynne Benoit, adding that the patio creates 10-15 jobs.

Benoit told council the restaurant invested an initial $20,000 to create the patio, plus ongoing annual costs. She said she believes the patio has been properly designed, in consultation with township staff, and with lights and flowers it enhances the streetscape. She said it has an alternate sidewalk to create safe passage and the bump-out actually slows vehicle traffic.

Benoit said Chez Michel is a dining destination and is a contributing member of the community.

“I believe that our business is worth more than two parking spaces and I would appreciate to be considered. Without this patio I do not have a business.”

To gather public input, the BIA is conducting a patio survey (click on link or go to

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment