VIDEO: A Call For Reasonable Compromise on the Patio Plan

Next Monday, city council will meet to ratify their decisions about the 2021-2023 patio program for downtown Guelph. Or change it. There’s been an undercurrent of dissatisfaction about the decision made to close downtown streets for special occasions only; some people want a summer-long closure, others want no closure or something in between. This has all the makings of A GREAT DEBATE!

In what could be the pilot for a new monthly video feature (like the video and comment if you want some more), we’re joined by Guelph’s famous mapmaker Abhi Kantamneni to talk about the issues surrounding the potential implementation of a Downtown Dining District this year. Do we close it all down like last year to create the same experience, or do we adjust to accommodate people with concerns about transit, accessibility and fairness? How do we do that?

As you may recall, Committee of the Whole approved a plan for the 2021-2023 patio season to allow for some expansion of patio areas into parking spots and lanes of traffic, but roads will only be closed to traffic for special occasions per permit approval. This was one of three staff options offered to the committee along with a program similar to last year’s dining district in either the form of a seasonal closure, or a limited closure every weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

There’s been some disagreement on the right direction in the community, and not all of it’s been friendly. In this inaugural GREAT DEBATE, Abhi and I will talk about the arguments, the issues, and what may be the best way forward for all involved. Is compromise easier than we think it is? What kind of compromises do we have to make for everyone to get the most out of outdoor dining and other business renewal opportunities in the core this summer?

You can watch the video here:

Or you would rather an audio experience, you can listen here:

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