Council’s Growth Committee is onboard with a staff recommendation to waive fees connected with sidewalk patios. The move is designed to help uptown businesses that have been struggling under the weight of COVID restrictions. The program is similar to programs being offered in other Atlantic Canadian cities this summer.
A staff report says based on cafe permit applications in previous years – this year’s rebate program is expected to cost between $5000 and $10,000. The Saint John Parking Commission estimates waiving the cost of parking spaces used for the patios will be between $3000 and $5000.
A budget of $20,000 will be set with any money left at the end of the season going back into the City’s ENCORE Fund. That fund was established to assist in the pandemic economic recovery. Common Council is expected to give approval to the program at its next meeting.