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Patio opening delayed by lengthy permit process, bar says

Although the city claims to have streamlined the application process, one Edmonton bar is complaining about delays in getting approval for its brand new patio.
Operations manager Sean Harney says Craft's patio application initially got lost. (CBC)

Although the city claims to have streamlined the application process, one Edmonton bar is complaining about delays in getting approval for its brand new patio.

Craft Beer Market in downtown Edmonton has yet to open its new rooftop patio despite an application submitted 45 days ago.

"We've had our hurdles with the city,” operations manager Sean Harney said. “Our permit initially got lost in the shuffle."

Restaurants have complained that the patio permit process is too bureaucratic and time-consuming. Last year, the city vowed to speed things up by dedicating more staff and easing the rules.

However, Harney says it’s been a difficult process and he thinks that city staff are overwhelmed by the number of applications.

Now that the weather is mild enough for people to sit outside, he says Craft is losing tens of thousands of dollars a day because customers can go to another bar with a patio that’s open.

"You've got like three or four months” of patio season, he said.

“So it's really extremely important that we get everything done in a timely manner. I know it's (supposed to be) a 30-day process but every business owner has to stay really diligent in following up with whoever you’re dealing with.”

But Harry Luke from the City of Edmonton says that businesses should apply earlier.

"Maybe at the very beginning of the year, so that they are ready to go once the weather's nice and they're able to put out their chairs."

Craft got their permit approved this week. The bar just needs the final inspections for fire, health and occupancy and Harney hopes to have the patio open this weekend.

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