Montreal’s new terrasse rules – Welcomed by bar, cafe and restaurant owners in the downtown Ville Marie borough, the city of Montreal announced new rules that will see restrictions eased, save owners thousands of dollars on permits and also see taxes lowered. Mayor Valerie Plante made the announcement last Friday the 14th, after consultations took place between the borough and local business associations last year. The new rules will save businesses somewhere between $500 and $30,000 per year. It will be based on the size of the terrasse, the municipal evaluation of the property and the duration of the permit requested – of which the process will be simplified. There will also be provisions to offset tax increases on property values, by reducing taxes on outdoor terrasses from 9.5% to 4%. “We rarely see the city say now it’s going to cost you less for a terrasse or a measure like that… so I think it’s pretty huge, what we’re saying today,” she said with her signature ear-to-ear smile.
Tourist and Montrealers alike enjoy the terrasses in the warmer seasons and Plante’s excitement was clear as she stood at the podium and spoke to reporters. The new rules will also allow for ‘European-style’ terrasses, she explained. Although it will be at no cost, businesses will need to apply for permission from borough. They can only have a maximum of 3 tables and 12 chairs and must not be attached to the building. There must be at least 1.8 metres of space between the terrasse and the establishment for people to pass through on the sidewalk – and no alcohol sales will be allowed.
In addition, businesses can also apply to install ‘placottoirs’ at no cost. They are also known as ‘parklets’ (gathering and rest areas resembling outdoor terrasses installed in the parking areas in front of businesses), the likes of which have been popping up in many parts of the city. However, no sales or services will be allowed in these spaces. “They’re spaces to add life, where Montrealers can set themselves up and re-appropriate the public domain,” Mayor Plante said. The idea being to contribute in attracting customers to the area. “We’re putting a lot of effort into Sainte-Catherine Street, which represents our vision of urban planning. But other arteries are just as important. We wanted to send a strong message that we’re listening.” All in all, the new rules and lower costs will help businesses and certainly add to Montreal’s well-known ‘joie de vivre’.
Feature Image: Pub Burgandy Lion terrace in Montreal