Parking lot dispute closes popular Leamington eatery Birdie's Perch

The owner of Birdie's Perch and Point Pelee Trading Post is emotional over her decision to close and sell the business over an issue with her site plan with the municipality.

Dispute with municipality over parking lot causes owner to sell

Birdie's Perch and Point Pelee Trading Post are closed and up for sale. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

A popular eating spot in Leamington is for sale.

Birdie's Perch is a double decker-bus with an outdoor patio on Point Pelee Drive. The owner says a dispute with the municipality over her parking lot is the issue.

"I think I'm done. It's been too much work. It's been too hard," said Kathleen Yetman, holding back tears.

Yetman said she is selling her eatery Birdie's Perch along with the adjacent Point Pelee Trading Post because she can't open either establishment this year.

Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald said Yetman missed an April 30 deadline to submit a site plan for paving her parking lot and putting in drainage.

Yetman said she has been working with an engineering firm, but during an interview with CBC News was not clear on why the deadline was missed.

"What I'm saying is that we have great engineers. We have a great lawyer. We tried so hard, I had no idea. It just. It's just not enough for [the municipality], " said Yetman.

Birdie's Perch owner Kathleen Yetman is distraught over losing her Birdie's Perch restaurant and Point Pelee Trading Post store. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

MacDonald said the need for a site plan was triggered four years ago when Yetman applied to merge the two properties. She said the town gave her some leeway because of the pandemic, but last fall imposed the April 30 deadline to get the plans moving. But MacDonald said the town is not trying to shut Birdie's down.

"If they submitted a site plan that worked for the municipality, absolutely. They could go forward and open up. "

MacDonald said site plans are needed for safety and to ensure neighbouring properties are not affected. They are mandated by the province.

"And we have nothing against this fantastic place. But again, there are rules that need to be followed when you apply them to everyone, they need to be followed," said MacDonald.

Fifteen employees are affected by the closure. Yetman said she has already had an inquiry about the property.


Dale Molnar

Video Journalist

Dale Molnar is an award-winning video journalist at CBC Windsor. He is a graduate of the University of Windsor and has worked in television, radio and print.

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