Restaurant patios on Calgary sidewalks will have to go when snow falls, mayor says

Some of the temporary patios that the City of Calgary allowed restaurants and bars to set up to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic will have to be removed when it snows.

City officials say patios set up on private property will be allowed to extend their permits and keep operating, if owners so wish.

But Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the patios that were allowed to spill out onto sidewalks — displacing pedestrians onto the roadway — will have to be shut down.  

“Those are just not going to work when it snows because we have to remove the snow and so we’re going to push this for as long as we can until there’s a major snowfall,” he said.

“Once we have a weather forecast that there’s going to be more than two centimetres of snow then those temporary patios are going to have to go away and they’re going to have to shrink back to their normal size.”

Nenshi says he’s aware of a number of business owners who are going to try to keep their patios on private property open through the winter.

Leslie Echino, owner of Annabelle’s Kitchen and a board member of the Alberta Hospitality Association, said she has investigated the cost of winterizing her patio and isn’t sure it’s worth the time or expense.

“We’re looking at anywhere from $65,000 to $85,000 just for that alone, never mind the permits,” she said. 

“As we all know, the city can be tough sometimes and a development permit can take up to six months to get approved.”

Echino says with growing COVID regulations and shutdowns elsewhere in Canada, she worries about the future for her two restaurants.

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