By Rachel Jaskula
Ottawa’s Transportation Committee has voted to change a patio bylaw in order to improve accessibility on sidewalks for pedestrians.
The bylaw amendment, which was approved on March 7, will require sidewalk patios to have barrier-free access and a two-metre wide clear pathway for pedestrians by April 1.
Existing sidewalk patios that leave pedestrians less than two metres of space or are blocked by city infrastructure will be given some lenience in the new bylaw.
In order to help with costs that business owners will face due to these changes, the city proposed a 25-per-cent reduction on patio licence fees.
The city also promised to spend $50,000 to help move signs and benches in order to make space for pedestrians on sidewalks.
The city is encouraging patio owners to abide by the law once summer patio season starts, but some business owners have said this doesn’t give them enough time to meet the new requirements.
Once patios meet these new restrictions, owners will have to submit applications by Oct. 31 in order to receive the city’s approval for next summer’s patio season.
Patios remaining open during the winter need to meet the new standards by Nov. 1. By April 1, 2019, all patios must comply with the new regulations.