Calgary's seasonal patios to be in parking lanes instead of on sidewalks "wherever possible" this year

May 3 2022, 10:58 pm

The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and the snow has all but melted away, and you know what that means: patio season has officially arrived in Calgary.

Select YYC restaurants and bars offer outdoor seating all year-round, but for the fair-weather patio-goers, now’s your moment!

This year’s patio season comes with a few changes and improvements to be implemented by the City of Calgary, along with the continuation of other supports that were introduced during the pandemic.

After launching a fee relief program in May 2020 for businesses putting in seasonal patios, the City continued to offer support into 2021. Additionally, owners were given more time to prepare for the season, with the City accepting applications for outdoor cafes and patios beginning in March 2021. Local businesses were also allowed to construct patios on public land, with restrictions.

This year, the City is once again waiving fees and creating opportunities for the design and size of patios, while giving new recommendations for placement, as announced in a media release on Monday.

“We recognize that this is a transition year for businesses and our local economy, so for the third straight year there will not be a fee to apply for a patio permit,” said Erin Chrusch, Acting Lead, Business and Local Economy, in the release.

In 2020, the City was recognized on a national level for reducing red tape around patios. In a Golden Scissors Award recognition, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said it was a great example of how cutting red tape can make a huge difference to struggling small businesses.

Calgary’s patio scene must be pretty great if it’s getting national attention!

While it’s been nice seeing more outdoor seating options in the city, the addition of temporary patios in front of businesses did raise concerns for some pedestrians trying to navigate the surrounding sidewalk areas.

“This year,” said Chrusch, “business operators, wherever possible, can locate their seasonal patios in the parking or curbside lane.”

If a business should need to construct their patio on a public sidewalk, there must be a minimum continuous clearance of two metres to allow for public passage, aligning with best practices for patios and accessibility.

“This will leave the sidewalk unobstructed for pedestrian accessibility,” Chrusch added.

The City is now accepting outdoor patio applications for the 2022 season.

Local business owners who want to apply for a patio on private property, or one that spans over both private and public property, can contact the Planning Services Centre at 403-268-5311 or through live chat.

If the patio will be on public property, such as on a sidewalk or in the parking lane, Calgary Roads will issue the permission. Start the process by reviewing the 2022 Guidelines for Seasonal Patios located on public property document and emailing [email protected].

The sooner businesses apply, the sooner eager restaurant-goers can get out there and enjoy. Further details can be found on the City of Calgary website.

Catch ya on the patio, YYC.

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