On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, Carol Jolly, Executive Director of The Junction BIA, sent the City of Toronto Office of Transportation Services a letter, on behalf of several Toronto BIAs, requesting an extension to the 1st CafeTO registration deadline to support businesses that have faced unforeseen issues in completing their applications on time. On March 31, the first registration window for CafeTO was extended by a week, which helped numerous businesses.
Please see below for a copy of the letter.
March 29, 2021
To: Transportation and CaféTO staff
Re: Requesting Extension for the 1st CaféTO Registration Window
We are emailing on behalf of several Toronto BIAs (copied herein) to request that the deadline for the 1st registration window of curb lane closure rollouts be extended one week to Friday, April 2.
While we understand the need for a deadline, we can also understand why many businesses could not meet it. A one-week grace period could support those business owners who have been hard at work over the last several weeks to complete their registration. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, business owners have been overwhelmed by trying to keep their businesses afloat, attempting to access financial supports, pivot their business operation, launch their online and social media presence, and more, all without the requisite staff. It’s not surprising that they did not look after business license renewals and updated insurance. Luckily, the CaféTO registration uncovered many of these issues and business owners resolve them as we speak.
We do not believe that extending the deadline for Window #1 will cause a delay in any plans for rollout. As we saw last year, the IBI Group was able to make changes on the go. If IBI is provided with the list of businesses to build into their streetscape plans this week and then a few more businesses per BIA are added by the end of the week, there should not be a problem. We, as BIA staff, can support IBI. We have already built streetscape plans based on the CaféTO guidelines, our one-on-one meetings with BIA members, and the prior year’s streetscape. We are happy to provide those plans to IBI to ensure that their job is as simple as possible.
We hope that you will consider this request and announce the extension immediately – or provide another solution which will allow these businesses to participate. For each business that was unable to meet the deadline of March 26, the loss of 1-2 months of outdoor patio sales could potentially account for tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue. But we have a mechanism to help these businesses who put in the hard work to clear up potential issues and operate safely and earlier.
Thank you for your consideration.
The Junction BIA
(416) 561-3683 – mobile
cc: Audrey Swartz (Weston Village BIA) email@example.com / Cathy Quinton (Little Portugal on Dundas BIA) firstname.lastname@example.org / Cassandra Alves (Kensington Market BIA) email@example.com / Anna Sebert (Beach Village BIA) firstname.lastname@example.org