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Downtown Windsor BIA Lobbies Against Reintroduction Of Sidewalk Cafe Fees

Tuesday January 26th, 2016, 6:30pm

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The Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association is urging the City of Windsor to reconsider reinstating the annual sidewalk café encroachment and application fees.

For the past five years the BIA says that council has waived the fees, and this has resulted in more than 20 downtown merchants extending their sidewalk cafés annually.

The BIA says that a recent letter from the City, merchants were advised that City Council had passed By-law 12-2016 approving permit fees for sidewalk cafes that were previously one dollar to be increased to $209 plus a $3 over-the-counter fee. In addition sidewalk cafe encroachment fees, which were previously waived, have been reinstated to $5.90 per square foot in downtown Windsor. In addition, applicants will be required to pay a refundable indemnity deposit of $1,000.

“Sidewalk cafés can be found in every downtown area the world over,” said Larry Horwitz, DWBIA Chair. “They are popular gathering places for socialization and greatly enhance the urban experience. Sidewalk cafés infuse a sense of space into our downtown landscape bringing more life and energy into our city centre, and in so doing making our downtown streets more inviting and vibrant.”

The DWBIA believes that the reinstatement of the encroachment and applications fees will deter many merchants from extending their patios this year, which in turn reduces the appeal, ambiance, attractiveness and walkability of the city centre at a time when it should be most welcoming and inviting to visitors and residents alike.

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