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Business owners concerned over bylaw that would prohibit open doors and windows when air conditioning is operating

A bylaw intended to discourage open doors and windows while air conditioner units are in operation has once again been delayed. The bylaw was initially proposed in 2019 and has since been deferred to city staff for research to be undertaken.

The announcement comes as the city is dealing push back from local businesses over the bylaw, and as they are dealing with effects of the pandemic. “Staff will engage again with businesses and the public in either late 2021 or early 2022 and will bring forth a proposed by-law for consideration of Council in Q2 2022,” said chief administrative officer Lanie Hurdle in a report. 

Hurdle attached a survey sent to local business owners which showed that a majority of respondents felt that the proposed bylaw would impact the success of their business. “In particular, comments concerning walk-in traffic and a store’s ability to attract customers without their doors being open were expressed,” said Hurdle. 

Some businesses were also concerned about the health and safety effects of closing ventilation in Kitchens. “While operating these appliances, [businesses felt that] significant heat production could create unsafe work conditions if air-conditioning systems could not be operated,” city staff wrote.

The bylaw is intended to resemble a law in New York City that promotes and enforces that certain businesses close their doors and windows while air conditioning is running. In order to combat some of the concerns at the time, New York City made certain exceptions; making the by law applicable to only businesses over 4,000 square feet, and exempting certain restaurants with a patio. 

When the bylaw is brought back for consideration in 2022, Hurdle suggests that a number of options may be brought forward.

Responses by business owners that are being presented to city council members:

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