Barrie councillors gathered around the virtual table on Monday night to cast a final ballot in a series of plans designed to ease COVID tension among small businesses.
The City gave final okay to a plan that would allow the easier establishment of patios in areas like parking lots once restaurants are permitted to further reopen under provincial guidelines. Under this program, restaurants may be allowed to maintain a certain capacity while still assuring physical distancing for patrons.
Councillors also gave the final nod to plans surrounding the pedestrianization of Dunlop Street from the Five Points to Mulcaster Street. The plan would promote visitors to the downtown, according to a city staff report on the pilot project, while also allowing more freedom of movement under physical distancing guidelines. While Barrie City Hall has given the final nod to the continued closure of Dunlop to vehicular traffic after construction is complete, the Downtown Barrie Business Association (Barrie BIA) would need to sign off on it too. It is expected the Barrie BIA will meet sometime this week to discuss it.
Also approved at Council on Monday night, a rent relief request made by the owners of the Barrie Colts. The city has agreed to extend a deadline for rent and other fees due by sixty days beyond July 31st. The Colts parent company will also get a break on next month’s rent, to the tune of $4,000; This represents the money saved on city staff time with the cancellation of the remainder of the OHL season.
City Hall also signed off on the sale of a small plot of land, currently being used as a parking lot on Collier Street, next to the Parkade structure in Barrie’s downtown. It is expected the sale of the 15-spot lot will net the city $900,000, with no immediate plans for its future use.