Haligonians no longer have to use a major event as an excuse to enjoy a beer on a downtown patio on those rare, sunny late-April days.
Regional Council approved last night permitting sidewalk cafes in the Capital District to open as early as April 21 this year and in the future — 10 days before the the former May 1 opening date.
The proposal was on the table because of the upcoming world hockey championship, which will be touching down in Halifax on May 2.
But Coun. Andrew Younger (East Dartmouth-The Lakes) suggested making the early opening date permanent instead of revisiting the issue when a big act comes to town.
Cafes were permitted to open as early as April 21 in 2006, when the Junos were held in Halifax.
The earlier opening date means roadwork to repair cracks and potholes on cafe-lined streets must be prioritized, several councillors said.
“(Argyle) will be one of the feature streets the world will see and, frankly, it is a mess,” Coun. Sue Uteck (Northwest Arm-South End) said.
The discussion turned to allowing patios to remain open year-round, which has been proposed on several occasions.
But Coun. Jim Smith (Albro Lake-Harbourview) had his doubts about the draw of patios in the winter.
“I’m not about to put my parka on,” he said. “These are outside cafes. We live in Nova Scotia.”
City staff agreed to look into that proposal once current projects, such as HRM by Design, are complete.