Today, I sent a letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Hon. Steve Clark, and Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Prabmeet Sarkaria asking for the government’s help in facilitating flexibility for outdoor patio tents to support our local restaurants while we seek to maintain public safety and comply with the Ontario Building Code.
For some of our local restaurants, the added spacing and seating these patio tents will afford them during the winter months can mean the difference between surviving and not making it through the pandemic economically.
The full letter is provided below and through this link here: Letter Premier and Ministers Dec 11 2020
Friday, Dec. 11, 2020
Dear Premier, Ministers Clark and Sarkaria,
We are asking for your assistance to provide clarity and, where justified, flexibility for our businesses as they struggle to survive among the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
An issue that has recently come to light involves the Ontario Building Code (OBC) and patio tents. Businesses have invested in patio tents to extend their square footage of space, while maintaining physical distancing.
These tents are enclosed with heaters, and function essentially as additional interior seating space. For some restaurants, these added tables are key to their survival.
We have reached out earlier in a letter dated November 18th to the Finance Minister asking for assistance with these matters, stating a request to “review the OBC to help provide greater flexibility to businesses as they adapt to new safety protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 such as restaurant patios and tent enclosures.” We reiterate that general need for assistance along with the following specifics detailed below.
At present, the OBC requires a building permit where a tent is over 60 square metres in area, is closer than 3 metres to existing structures and is attached to a building. The OBC’s provisions for tents speak only to tents for “fall fair” types of events, not for winter dining enclosures. Therefore, our Chief Building Official (CBO) is concerned about the structural capacity of these winter tents and is requesting engineered review of the tents addressing snow, ice and wind load. Achieving these structural and setback requirements is simply not feasible with a number of our restaurants, especially in older areas of the city such as downtown, where the patios are small and the restaurants are close to the sidewalk.
So, we need your help.
Chief Building Officials are provincially mandated to enforce compliance to the requirements of the OBC as written. But the OBC didn’t anticipate a global pandemic and the unique situations that have arisen.
We are asking you to review the applicable tent provisions in the OBC and to work with our local Building staff to determine any options, and potential flexibility, so long as our CBO is satisfied that public health and safety can be maintained. We have worked together before, most recently with approvals related to our Pandemic Response Unit at Joseph Brant Hospital.
This matter is of some urgency as these tents are already up in some places to provide additional spaces for the coming winter months. Please connect directly with our Chief Building Official to discuss this further. His contact information is below:
Nick Anastasopoulos, P.Eng.
Chief Building Official | Director Building & By-law Department
We look forward to hearing back from you.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
City of Burlington
cc: MPP Jane McKenna
MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos
MPP Parm Gill
Tim Commisso, Burlington City Manager
Burlington City Council
Randy Smallbone, Chair, Burlington Economic Recovery Network
Burlington Restaurant Association
PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.
A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.
To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.
We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.
HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:
- Community questions and requests regarding City of Burlington services can be directed to Service Burlington by phone at 905-335-7777, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or online.
- Halton Region has created a Reopening Schools resource webpage for parents, students and teachers at halton.ca/covid19.
- For further COVID-19 information, including where to get tested, please visit Halton Region Public Health halton.ca/coronavirus
- Residents can stay informed at burlington.ca/coronavirus as well as on our social media channels: @cityburlington on Twitter and facebook.com/cityburlington
- Questions about the cancellation of Recreation programs can be directed to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-335-7738
- City of Burlington: www.burlington.ca/coronavirus
- Resources for Residents & Non-Profit Organizations: www.burlington.ca/covid19resources.
- Halton Region: www.halton.ca/coronavirus
- Government of Ontario: www.ontario.ca/coronavirus
- Provincial Emergency Orders: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200052
- Government of Canada: www.canada.ca/coronavirus
- World Health Organization: www.who.int
- Joseph Brant Hospital: josephbranthospital.ca/covid-19
- Team Burlington Business Supports: burlingtonchamber.com/team-burl-supporting-burl-business-during-covid-19/
- Burlington Food Bank: call 905-637-CARE (2273), or visit burlingtonfoodbank.ca
- Food for Life: call 905-635-1106 and press 7, or visit foodforlife.ca
- Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Branch: call 289-291-5396, or visit halton.cmha.ca