Downtown patios to close before G20 summit
Published Thursday, May 6, 2010 8:05PM EDT
Downtown restaurant owners are upset they'll have to shut down their patios for two weeks before the G20 summit begins on June 26.
"It's not affecting us for two days of the summer, it's affecting us for the entire month," said David Bagley, owner of Cora's Restaurant on Blue Jays Way.
The restaurant is just a few hundred metres from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, where leaders of the world's 20 largest economies will gather this summer.
"With good weather, which June usually is, weekdays you're probably looking at $2,000 a day. On the weekends, especially on the weekend of the summit, it'll add up to … close to $20,000," he said.
A meeting last week didn't inform businesses about the patio restriction.
Coun. Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) said shotgun weddings have been planned better than the G20 summit.
"When it comes to getting the details as to how businesses, residents and local parks and even things as simple as restaurant patios will be affected, every day it's a different idea," he said.
Vaughan thought the rationale might be that violent protesters could use the patio furniture to damage other property.
Restaurants and other businesses will only find out if they are in the higher-level inner security zone two weeks before the event -- something that could bring even more security restrictions, he said.
Meanwhile, some people between Toronto and Huntsville, site of the June 25-26 G8 summit in cottage country, got to see and hear military aircraft buzzing overhead.
CF-18 Hornet fighter jets, CH-124 Sea King and CH-146 Griffon helicopters took part in NORAD's air security exercise, flying as low as 600 metres. More flights are scheduled for Friday.
Meanwhile, G20 protesters will not be confined to a downtown Toronto park, police have decided.
The Integrated Security Unit overlooking security-related issues for the high-profile summit says a decision was made to find a location other than Trinity-Bellwoods Park.
They made the decision after receiving complaints from residents living around the Queen West community.
The ISU is comprised of several police services, including the RCMP, OPP, Peel and Toronto Police Services as well as the Canadian Forces.
Spokesperson Meghan Gray told CTV News that the new location for the so-called "protest zone" hasn't been finalized, but the criteria is the same.
"Our primary concern is to use a location that is close enough to the downtown area that respects the entire idea of a designated speech area while at the same time, is a distance that protects the integrity of our security planning," Gray said.
Trinity-Bellwoods residents were worried about the types of protests that might occur in the protest zone, along with environmental issues, she said.
There aren't many areas in downtown Toronto that offer a large empty space that doesn't butt up against residential housing.
Nathan Phillips Square or Yonge-Dundas Square are outside the security perimeter, Gray said.
She considered the CNE grounds to be considered part of "downtown." A Toronto FC soccer game will be played there on June 26.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Naomi Parness