Bring Back an Outdoor Patio for Paisley

Bring Back an Outdoor Patio for Paisley

326 have signed. Let’s get to 500!

Why this petition matters

Please consider signing this petition if you would like to see an outdoor restaurant patio re-established on Paisley's main street in front of The Paisley Common restaurant.

At the Arran-Elderslie Council meeting on March 14, 2022, a motion to extend the permission to erect an outdoor patio for The Paisley Common was denied. It is disappointing that the council would vote down the request, especially when there are demonstrable benefits to The Paisley Common and its patrons, to other businesses on Queen Street, and to the community at large.

We think that there are several compelling reasons for Council to reconsider its decision, and we outline them here.

The patio garnered lots of positive feedback last summer. Our customers loved it – they’ve said that they were drawn to the patio and slowed down to see what was going on, stopped specifically to spend time at The Paisley Common, then spent time shopping at other stores nearby. We’ve heard that customers who’ve dropped in that the patio caught their attention and that it led them to explore the downtown, instead of driving straight through town on their way to someplace else.

There are many well-documented benefits of patio spaces.  Patios play a significant role in enhancing commercial environments by encouraging people to get out of their car and onto the street.  They give residents and tourists an opportunity to spend more time on streets and to explore the unique businesses that downtowns like Paisley’s have to offer. It makes streets safer for residents and enhances the touristic experience for visitors.  Patios support the creation of thriving places, animate the street and create opportunities for interaction.  And they help to bring the street into a more vibrant life.

We note that other communities and institutions in Ontario see the value of patios and are championing them.

Saugeen Shores – just a short distance from Paisley – has enthusiastically embraced patios and has adopted a policy to promote them. It has already approved five patio applications in 2021 alone. Heather Hyde, the Town’s Economic Development Officer says that “Based on conversations with the local BIAs (Business Improvement Areas) and economic development stakeholders during the 2021 Economic Development Forum, it is evident that there is still a need to support businesses in establishing patios.” Saugeen Shores municipal staff are considering a streamlined process with pre-approved patio specifications for businesses to adopt and implement. Hyde adds that Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation has been contacted about expanding opportunities for patio installations for Port Elgin businesses on Goderich St. (Highway 21).

In addition, the City of Burlington is extending its expedited patio approval program through 2022. Mark Simeoni, Burlington’s Director of Community Planning, has said that  “It’s been a long winter and many are eagerly awaiting patio season, especially our local businesses. The City of Burlington team is committed to working with interested businesses on a case-by-case basis to do what we can to support restaurant operators in their recovery as part of the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as we work towards a new normal. I urge owners who are considering adding a patio for the spring, summer or fall season, to submit their application as soon as possible so staff can work with them on a mutual solution. Our goal is to support our local businesses by turning around their patio permit applications as quickly as we can.”

As well, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, Ontario’s regulatory body for the sale of alcoholic beverages, is also extending the program that it had initiated at the start of the pandemic to help make it easier for restaurants to have patios.

Beyond Covid’s continuing impact, another tremendous potential interruption to business in Paisley’s downtown looms. The project to replace the bridge downtown begins this May and is estimated to last almost two years. It’s a big unknown what impact this will have, but even a five-minute detour like the one that the Township has planned might be enough to have Google maps recommend an alternate route. Why not allow for a simple measure to help bolster the revenue of a business that employs and promotes skill development for 15-20 local people and is a magnet for tourists to stop and spend time exploring our beautiful Town?

We believe that the patio will continue to enhance Paisley’s culture – in all its forms – and the drawing card of a patio at The Paisley Common is ultimately to the benefit of all its residents and businesses.

If you support our efforts to erect an outdoor restaurant patio on Paisley's main street, for the betterment of our town and its visitors, please sign this petition.

326 have signed. Let’s get to 500!