Puslinch working on process for businesses looking to create, expand patios

PUSLINCH – Township staff here are working on a process for businesses looking to expand their patios to increase business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At its June 17 Zoom meeting, Puslinch council received for information correspondence about what the Town of Oakville is doing to help its businesses open or expand patios.

“I really like this idea,” said councillor Matthew Bulmer.

“I think we have several restaurants, some with more, some with less space, that might want to take advantage of this, these types of opportunities.”

Bulmer asked if the township has enough staff to support the temporary uses “to ensure that we’re not putting people in harm’s way when we do this?”

CAO Glenn Schwendinger said the township has had extensive discussions on the issue.

“The short answer is no, we don’t have the resources to take the same approach as what Oakville or larger centres have,” he said.

“We’re in the process with our chief building official and our fire chief to make something that’s right sized I’ll say for Puslinch in terms of having the appropriate level of review done, but something that’s as simple as possible, not something that’s overkill for a large municipality that wouldn’t really be applicable to us.”

Mayor James Seeley said he has already been contacted by a business that wants to expand its patio.

“As a municipality we have limited tools and funds to help our small businesses and thank you staff for being on top of this to try to facilitate getting these patios open,” he said.

“There’s rules to follow, there’s fire code, it has to be done safe, but I really appreciate being ahead of the ball on this one.”

Schwendinger confirmed that discussions have already begun to take place with business owners looking to create or expand their patio facilities and that some site visits have also been set up.

“It is a process that’s underway and we hope to have a simplified maybe list or process developed so that if other people call and ask, this is how we go about it,” he said.

“We’re hoping to have that within the next few days. So something in place for early next week for sure.”

Bulmer thanked staff for its speedy response.

“I must admit I was concerned I was going to hear the word September, but obviously you guys are well on top of this,” he said.