Revitalization

Promoting Patios

By Jason Leach
Published June 06, 2005

As most local residents, I am very enthusiastic about the great developments taking place on our waterfront. It is becoming a great spot to enjoy our city and will surely help change the image of Hamilton.

I had the delight to eat lunch at the new Café on the Bay­ this weekend. The menu is absolutely wonderful and the coffee is fair-trade organic -­ the only stuff I drink. It is a very healthy, quality establishment that should do good business once word gets out about it.

However, I spoke with a couple of the employees there and asked if they are going to get a patio (this is in the back side of the Marine Museum overlooking the harbour). They mentioned to me that the city is giving them a hard time regarding a patio and they have been informed that they must choose either a patio or liquor license, but not both.

I asked, "Where's the logic in that?" Of course, they replied that­ there is none.

I obviously don't know the entire story, but I left shaking my head and asking my wife, "When will this city ever get it?" We spend millions of dollars to draw people to our waterfront and now we're going to tell an establishment that they can't have a patio?

It reminds of me of a few years ago when we spent millions of dollars in Hess Village and saw several new establishments open and an application put forth from the village for a nine weekend summer festival.

Hamilton, of couse, said no. Too much fun for our city, I suppose.

I urge City Council to please be leaders in changing the mindset in our city. Hamilton should be promoting patios and even requesting that new buildings with ground floor eateries be built at the street level and open patios.

The new federal building is a good example. There's a great little café in there, but it's at the back of the building. The front is an empty, ugly concrete wasteland instead of having a patio had the builders been forced to put their café at the front of the building.

I hope my info from the Café on the Bay is wrong, but I spoke with two different people at different times and was told the exact same thing.

I told them to build a patio anyways and we'd get thousands of citizens to sign petitions and fight on their behalf as they try to make our waterfront an even better place.

There is absolutely no good reason to deny this patio. I hope to see dozens of patios someday along the waterfront.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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