Weekend Pitt Street closure under review

In this May 2018, file photo, Pitt Street in Cornwall, Ont. looking south from Second Street. The weekend Pitt Street closure of this portion of street to vehicular traffic starts today, Thursday, July 1, 2021, as part of a plan to help downtown businesses as the community comes out of the pandemic. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – Cornwall will look again at a road closure for downtown Pitt Street but this would be only for weekends during the summer.

Couns. Justin Towndale and Eric Bergeron introduced the new business motion at last night’s council meeting (June 14) after getting the idea Hassan Rafiei, the owner of Schnitzels European Flavours.

“This is actually stemming from a community effort but required a motion of council. But I think this is not getting ahead of ourselves because the debate is yet to come, but I think this is a way we can show our support to a sector that is particularly hard hit,” Towndale said.

Under the provincial government’s Roadmap to Reopen, outdoor patio dining is allowed with four people per table with proper spacing.

Unlike last year where the idea of a long-term street closure received little support from the Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA) and the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce, both agencies are supportive of the idea, Towndale told council.

Closing Pitt Street from the entrance to Cornwall Square to Second Street, would allow food-based businesses to extend their patios further and other shops to share their wares on the street.

It would be for Friday night, Saturday and possibly Sundays if businesses are keen on opening. Many are typically closed on Sunday.

A report will come back for the June 28 council meeting with hopes of getting it in place for the Canada Day weekend if it’s supported.