Grimsby builds downtown pedestrian walkway, sidewalk patios expand

Note: This story has been updated as of 4:53pm Thursday 23 July – with new photos

Downtown Grimsby transformed its high street today as town workers deploy a pedestrian walkway on the northside of Main Street. Larger sidewalk patios were also deployed by two local pubs.

On Monday, (July 20) the town’s council fast-tracked a plan to expand outdoor patios in Grimsby’s Downtown. The program provides local business more options to open safely as the Niagara Region enters Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan.

Taking advantage of the new sidewalk patio space is The Forty Pub and Teddy’s. The patios open at noon Friday. Teddy’s patio policy is first come first serve. At The Forty reservations for the patio are recommended, a Forty staff member said.

To prepare, town crews closed the street parking lane on the north side of Main Street West between Ontario Street and Mountain Road. They positioned a concrete barrier that allows for more sidewalk space for outdoor patio expansions.

“Expanding outdoor patios will help our restaurants and retail businesses attract local shoppers and create an exciting presence in the Downtown. Grimsby Council, the Downtown Improvement Areas and staff have worked hard to find a solution that supports local business and the needs of our residents,” said Grimsby Mayor Jeff Jordan.

Town council unanimously approved the outdoor patio permit Monday night at a council meeting conducted virtually, as town meeting facilities are closed.

The cost of the barrier deployment could be as high as $27,500, Grimsby Chief Administrative Officer Harry Schlange told council Monday night. The Grimsby DIA (Downtown Improvement Area), a business owners group, will contribute $4,500. The town will pay the balance of the expense. The DIA has also said it will cover the cost to beautify the barriers.

Mike Williscraft, president of Grimsby Downtown Improvement Area Board, said: “It was nine straight days of organized chaos to get everything ready to present to council on Monday night. Working with several Town staff members at all hours of the day and night as well as over the weekend we somehow got it done.”

Grimsby Councilor Reg Freake
Grimsby Councillor Reg Freake

The new patio expansion rules come after the town’s rules were enforced on a small seating area outside the Forty Pub, forcing owner Mark Wood, to shut down the patio from five to three tables. Then to remove the patio completely. Town bylaw enforcement officers said the patio’s umbrella height did not comply with rules and paperwork was filed late and was incomplete. Wood’s insurance also did not meet the $5 million liability coverage.

Those requirements have since been waived under new rules that council approved Monday night, for the duration of 2020.

“We have come a long way in the last month, we’ve all put up with a lot of grief, but we did, in the end, come through and I congratulate and commend the DIA, the mayor, and town team that pulled this thing together as fast as they have,” said Grimsby Ward 1 Councilor Reg Freake, at the council meeting. “There’s a lot of moving parts, certainly a big challenge, and I’m hoping that it will help our businesses downtown turn around in light of what’s going on…hopefully, we go forward from here and see the fruits of our labour.”

Today (Thursday), Main Street West in Grimsby is closed between Mountain Road and Ontario Street until 1pm for the barrier installation.

Barriers will remain in place from July 24 through to Oct. 31

Grimsby installs barriers so sidewalk patios can be expanded and operate safely from Andy Walker on Vimeo.

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