Peterborough sidewalk patio insurance costs to remain unchanged in 2024

Click to play video: 'Peterborough to maintain insurance costs for seasonal patios in 2024'
Peterborough to maintain insurance costs for seasonal patios in 2024
Peterborough city councillors met Monday evening to discuss insurance coverage for the city's patio program. While staff recommended increasing the required coverage, there was hesitancy from council. Robert Lothian has the verdict – Feb 6, 2024

With pleas from businesses, Peterborough city council has agreed not to increase the insurance costs this year to operate seasonal sidewalk patios in the downtown core.

A motion to raise the minimum commercial general liability insurance coverage to $5 million from $2 million returned to council on Monday night. A city staff report estimates the increase would cost businesses an additional $630.

Staff have stated that maintaining the current rates could cost the city in the event of a legal settlement.

But prior to a vote, the Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area asked council to not pursue the increase, arguing that raising insurance requirements will put further strain on the sector still trying to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“And it’s not because the businesses are being defiant. It’s because they simply can’t afford it,” said Sacha Lai-Svirk, DBIA board chair.

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Hillary Flood, the DBIA’s vibrancy manager, said the 21 patios that operated in the city’s program in 2023 could drop below 10 if the insurance costs were hiked.

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“When you increase your coverage from two to five (million dollars), it can be significantly different and vastly impactful depending on the business type,” she said.

City councillors debated the motion with Alex Bierk questioning the impact the insurance.

“We heard about how many people would drop out if it went up to five, and we have to take that to heart,” he said. “I take that to heart.”

However, Coun. Keith Riel was in support of the increase. “… if you’re serving liquor, it should be $5 million to safeguard the people and the citizens of Peterborough.”

Among options proposed including basing the insurance on alcohol sales.

However, in a 7-4 vote, council agreed to leave insurance requirements unchanged for 2025.

As part of the motion, staff will prepare a report ahead of the 2025 patio season which may featured a tiered approach to insurance requirements.

Click to play video: 'Peterborough examines raising insurance requirements for seasonal patios'
Peterborough examines raising insurance requirements for seasonal patios

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