Tempers flare as Charlottetown limits outdoor patios

Nigel Armstrong
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Tourists and Islanders mingle on Victoria Row in Charlottetown. FILE PHOTO

Tempers flared Thursday as Charlottetown City Council met to approve bylaws affecting restaurant patios and mobile food vendors.

Councillor Mitchell Tweel was agitated that the bylaw sets 24 as the total number of parking spaces in the downtown core that can be used by eating establishments for outdoor patios. The bylaw provides for three, with an option up to six additional parking spaces for push-cart or food-truck vendors.

Tweel was especially outraged over provisions that a lottery would decide who would get a permit if the requests exceed that 24-parking-space cap for patios.

"Some of these businesses, and I suggest to you that they are doing an excellent job of enhancing the downtown experience, some of these patios are upward of $15-$20,000," said Tweel after the meeting. "What happens if they don't win the lottery next year?"

Debate lasted close to an hour before the bylaw changes were approved, with Tweel and Coun. Danny Redmond opposed. Coun. Terry Bernard was absent.

Mounting pressure from the restaurant community to begin installing outdoor patios for this season pushed this bylaw amendment to Wednesday's special public meeeting.

Earlier this year there had been a request to expand the boundaries of the outdoor patio zone to include all areas south of and including Fitzroy Street. Since that required an amendment to the existing bylaw, it was decided to make other amendments to better control the growing demand for patios, and better control mobile food trucks and carts.

That has been accomplished through a new licensing program, enhanced set of definitions, and a new fee schedule, council heard.

The sole point of debate was around the cap on parking spaces the city will give up to dining alfresco.

Coun. David MacDonald presented the bylaw on behalf of his protective and emergency services  committee that oversees police and bylaw enforcement.

MacDonald said the issue of the cap and how to handle applications in excess of it was a difficult one for the committee.

The bylaw has to allow for control in a manner that can be enforced, he said.

Patio permits issued this year will be good for this summer and next, when the bylaw will be subject to a full review, said MacDonald.

Deputy Police Chief Richard Collins told council that based on last year's patio requests and new ones this year, the 24-parking-space allotment is expected to easily accommodate all demand, so the lottery provisions are highly unlikely.

Doesn't matter, said Tweel. He said the entire council had earlier rejected the idea of a cap and instead asked MacDonald's committee to consider a process of evaluation of every patio application on a case-by-case basis.

"Are we open for business, are we open to tourism or are we not,"  said Tweel.



Organizations: Charlottetown City Council

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Fitzroy Street

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Catch Up Ch'town
    May 10, 2014 - 13:09

    AHHH! The things we have to fight about on this beautiful Island of ours! Cut down tree for more parking spots ~~ REALLY ~~ Wow! We have Parkades and our City of Ch'town isn't that big that one couldn't walk to their planned ''store'' to shop. From experience customers want to sit outside, even if it's on the sidewalk. Bigger cities do it! Just doesn't make since to me, if this could increase the turnover of customers in our downtown restaurant's ~~ don't you think it would also increase traffic to the shopping as well. Also as far as the MOBILE VENDING VANS, again we are just starting to get them. They are great ''small business'' for people and create jobs...all really great for our Islanders. They don't take up much space and I just don't understand why the Town wants to limit the number. Big cities have them on every street and with every kind of foods you can imagine. It would be so nice to see PEI join all other Canadian Cities. Walk a few blocks from a parkade, eat outside enjoying the fresh air, or walk down the street after a night out and grab a hotdog and a pop!

  • Desperate Dan
    May 09, 2014 - 15:00

    Desperate is the word for people who think the solution for downtown parking is to cut the trees down. Think desperation when the hot, sweaty lunch crowd ships out because they can't stand the heat. Charlottetown, you have a very attractive and presentable downtown. Just work on keeping it that way.

  • Downtown Shopper
    May 09, 2014 - 14:18

    Not only are we short on parking spaces as it is, this will make it more difficult to shop downtown with less parking spots. There is more to downtown than resturants. I wonder what emergency measures are in place with these establishments if there should be an accident where a vehicle goes out of control. The little fences they have will not protect the patrons from harm. Who is held responsible for the patrons safety? Also, how many of you notice the increase in the number of wasps, and flies hovering over you and your meals when you are sitting, and trying to enjoy a meal? I am now hesitant to use these outside patios after being stung in the face by a wasp at one of these resturant patios last summer. Then you have the pollution of sidwalk signs on corners and infront of business's. I feel for the seniors, young parents with small children, vision impaired, etc. that try to make their way through this maze. The sidewalks are for pedestrians, let's keep that way.

  • H.S
    May 09, 2014 - 12:34

    roof top patios. Expensive but a solution. It would also give a great view of the downtown area

  • don
    May 09, 2014 - 11:41

    lets hope every one stays away from down town till late fall. then the stores will have the bars to thank for them going out of business.

    • IDK, man
      May 14, 2014 - 14:31

      Wrong. Shoppers need to eat. Eaters are going shop. A lot of those patios get filled up with visitors—staying in the hotels, from cruise ships, etc.—NOT drunks. By the time most of the drunks hit the downtown, the patios are closed. So, "parking vs. drunks" or "stores vs. bars" is very narrow-sighted. Hoping that downtown businesses will fail to satisfy your cantankerousness is far from a solution and completely pointless.

  • Gross
    May 09, 2014 - 11:15

    There are some patios that are nice...The ones filling parking spaces in Ch'town are not. I do not enjoy eating my dining experience while sitting in a dusty and noisey environment, inches from cars driving by! Everytime I go by one and see people sitting in those seats I cringe.

  • Downtowner
    May 09, 2014 - 08:15

    There should be a cap on the number of patios since there are already too few parking spots due to the trees and downtown workers parking at meters instead of in the parkades. It is nearly impossible to find a parking spot close to where one wants to go. Also, since the parking spots are angled and many of the parking spots are rectangular, the 2 end parking spots get cut off. Another complaint is that some serving staff do not care about people walking on the sidewalk and bolt in and out of the restaurant, nearly knocking pedestrians over.

  • Scott ward
    May 09, 2014 - 06:43

    Here's an idea, why dont they remove those stupid trees blocking some of the parking spaces downtown.

  • Sarcastic Being
    May 09, 2014 - 06:37

    Who was it that decided to put a tree in all those parking spots downtown? That was brilliant.

  • randy
    May 09, 2014 - 05:33

    Tweel and Redmond grandstanding again......

  • Charlottetown is so old school
    May 09, 2014 - 05:30

    This is why are business struggle because govt can't keep up with demand and is scared of change. On nice august afternoon you look at the business with decks and without...the ones with decks are filled.... Times are changing we NEED to change too

  • city dweller
    May 09, 2014 - 02:39

    Maybe charlottetown should invest more into parkades like normal cities then the parking is still there and there would be more room for more patios win win seeing how everything is pretty much within walking distance anyway

  • Lost Business
    May 09, 2014 - 01:22

    Last year I became a fan of Terra Rouge, making it a favorite go to spot for date night treats. One day I went to Terre Rouge, only to find there were no parking spaces anywhere near there as the patio was now up, both at Terre Rouge and Sim's. The lack of parking (and yes, there is a parkade near there, which was an option 2 blocks away but inconvenient when just looking to run in and pick up take out) has lead me to not go back to Terre Rouge. Their loss, not mine. I can find other businesses which provides parking. I have also stopped shopping at other downtown locations due to their staff using meter parking while at work. Nothing worse then going to a store location, purchasing items and having to carry them several blocks away, only to find a staff member feeding a meter right in front of the locations. (I am looking at you Luna and Island Optical) If the businesses in these locations are suffering, maybe they should move to another location where they can provide all the services they want to, such as convenient hours, parking, signage and such.

    • Really??
      May 09, 2014 - 10:28

      You say, "Nothing worse then going to a store location, purchasing items and having to carry them several blocks away". I can think of many thing worse that walking several blocks. :-)

    • LA
      May 09, 2014 - 11:06

      Actually, there are tens of thousands of things worse than getting a little exercise, although the city does need more parkades.

  • don
    May 08, 2014 - 22:05

    i agree with you parking is the #1 item the city should be looking at. if they have no place to park then they go to the malls and the stores that are open year around lose money and the staff gets less hours. so the city should think whats more important parking or drunks?

  • IslandGirl
    May 08, 2014 - 21:02

    Businesses need to realize that if there is no parking for customers, there will be no customers!

    May 08, 2014 - 20:43

    Has Danny Redmond ever voted the opposite way that Mitch Tweel voted . Huummm???