Town reduces patio fees

Joe McWilliams
Lakesie Leader

Slave Lake town council has approved a proposal to reduce the licensing fee for an outdoor patio by $100 – from $150 to $50. As a recent applicant for one such patio, mayor Tyler Warman did not participate in the April 20 discussion or vote.

The acting director of the planning and development department for the town, Samantha Dyck, told council the idea arose as a way of giving struggling restaurants a break. She didn’t propose waiving the fee altogether, as it does cost the town something to process the applications.

Besides the fee reduction, Dyck said she hoped the town could see its way to allowing downtown restaurants on the east side of Main St. to use some of the parking stalls for patio space. Councillors seemed generally in favour of that idea, along with the fee reduction.

“I wish we could do more,” said councillor Julie Brandle.

Councillor Darin Busk said he was theoretically in favour, but worried about causing problems for other businesses by closing off parking spots.

Councillor Brice Ferguson said he likes the idea and asked if any bylaw changes were needed to make it happen. Dyck said she didn’t think so.

“How long does it take to get a patio approved?” asked councillor Joy McGregor.

Normally a couple of weeks, Dyck said, but she’s hoping to put them through in two days. She added she’s actually only received one application so far to set up an outdoor patio, and had one other request for information.

Councillor Ferguson said it would be good to let all businesses know the option exists.

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