Downtown Timmins says pop-up patios will help save restaurants
TIMMINS -- The Downtown Timmins Business Improvement Area has come up with a way to revitalize the core of the city in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Around this time of year, the BIA is normally preparing to open its Urban Park, but due to the pandemic, organizers have devised something different to keep the vibe alive.
It partnered with some of its restaurants, the city and Newmont Porcupine to breathe some fresh air into what's been a locked up area since March.
On Tuesday, it's expecting a shipment of 10 pop-up patios from a manufacturer in Hamilton to help businesses attract customers downtown.
"For some of these restaurants, this will help them survive," said Noella Rinaldo, executive director of Downtown Timmins. "Every time we lose a restaurant, it breaks my heart because that's what makes a downtown very livable and vibrant."
The city is waiving permit fees and foregoing some parking revenue as the patios will be set up in on-street parking spots. The Downtown Timmins BIA is covering insurance and, Newmont Porcupine is donating $35,000 to cover patio fees so participating restaurants don't have to pay to rent them.
Brian Neeley, of Newmont Porcupine, said this is a perfect opportunity to stimulate spending downtown.
"They came to us and it kind of aligned with some of the stuff we were looking at actually for the last two years," Neeley said.
One restaurant owner is grateful for the opportunity to reopen and to serve her clients outside.
"I'm hoping that it's going to help a lot," said Claudette Lambert. "I'm very positive that it will so it's what you put out that you will receive, and I'm putting out the energy that needs to be brought in."
Downtown Timmins said in keeping with health guidelines, each pop-up patio will have space for four tables with two people at each one. As restrictions loosen, there'll be room for more.