Downtown Abbotsford to feature patios

City council has approved a proposal to allow sidewalk patios, starting this summer.

Patios will soon be a featured attraction in the downtown core, and visitors can get a sneak peek at how they will work during this weekend’s BerryBeat festival.

Council recently approved a proposal to allow downtown restaurants and cafes to set up sidewalk patios, in an effort to create more foot traffic.

Tina Stewart, executive director of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association, said the project, which has been in the works for about four years, should be ready to go by the end of July.

City staff still have to establish the approval and licensing process to allow liquor and food services outside the establishments.

Stewart said the idea first came about because outdoor patios are allowed during the annual BerryBeat celebration.

She anticipates Mitch Miller’s will be the first business to set up a patio, because they have run one during the last few festivals.

Businesses will have to file papers with the city, and if they want to serve alcohol, will have to apply to have extensions to existing liquor licences.

Stewart said any patio where alcohol is served will also have to install railings to “contain” the area.

The time limit being discussed on serving alcohol is 10 p.m.

The decision to establish patios is another step in the ongoing revitalization of the area.

If all goes well, Stewart  feels 10 new patios will be operating by the end of the summer.