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Temporary patio permits in Didsbury extended to 2022

Special permits to help and support local food service businesses after the province implemented COVID-19 restrictions

DIDSBURY - Town council has passed a motion allowing patios erected last spring in response to COVID-19 restrictions to continue to operate into 2022.

The move came during the recently regularly scheduled council meeting, held in person and on YouTube.

In an effort to help and support local food service businesses after the province implemented COVID-19 restrictions in the fall, council approved special temporary permits allowing outdoor patio dining.

The no-cost permits were scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2021.

“Due to the ongoing restrictions and the relative success of the patio initiative, administration recommended that the permits be extended to the end of 2022,” the town's chief administrative officer (CAO), Ethan Gorner, said in a briefing note to council.

“Patio dining allows food services businesses another avenue to increase revenues under the recent and ongoing restrictions. Patio dining was positively received by the community and seemed to enhance the downtown experience.”

Mayor Rhonda Hunter said, “This will allow business to make their plans.”

Councillors passed a motion extending the permits until the end of 2022.

Code of conduct changes approved

In other news from the recent council meeting, council approved changes to the municipality’s council code of conduct, changes that include updates on the handling of confidential information by councillors.

Council gave final reading to the update bylaw at the Sept. 28 meeting following a review by the policy and governance committee earlier in the month.

The code outlines standards of conduct for member of council related to their roles and obligations as representatives of the municipality and to establish a procedure for the investigation and enforcement of those standards.

The updated code includes several changes to the former code.

Under the confidential information section, the updated code now reads: “Members of council must keep all confidential matters and information protected under Division 2 of the FOIP Act, as well as those matters discussed in closed sessions, in strict confidence.”

The updated code also removes the following complaint hearing process system line: “The council will consider a complaint as a specific item at the closed session of the next council meeting.”

The updated sanctions, compliance and enforcement section now reads, in part, that, “sanctions that may be imposed on a member, by council, upon finding that the member has breached the bylaw may include but not be limited to a letter of reprimand addressed to the member, suspension or removal of the appointment of the member as the chief elected official, (and) suspension or removal from some or all council committees and bodies to which council has the right to appoint members.”

The updated bylaw may be reviewed in the year following a general municipal election as determined by the Local Authorities Election Act.