There could be more patios in Edmonton this summer now that the city has streamlined the application process in response to complaints from business owners.
In a report to council’s executive council, city administration says the approval process is faster and cheaper. Businesses are also now allowed to use commercial heaters to extend the season.
The changes were made after businesses complained that the approval process was complicated and time-consuming.
Coun. Ben Henderson says it seemed like the city used to get in the way when bars and restaurants applied for a patio permit.
“The bureaucratic side of it was just daunting and we were there to say no, not to say yes,” he said. “And I think there's been a really radical change where we're there now to try and find ways to make it work and to make it happen.”
In 2013, the city set a target to approve minor sidewalk cafes within one to three days and four to six weeks to approve larger ones.
In reality, minor applications took about 5 to 24 days; major applications were approved within 7 to 52 days, with an average of 20.7 days.
The city hopes to speed up the process in 2014 by providing more staff and better resources.