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The new boardwalk patios in Saint John. Image: Submitted/City of Saint John

Fire marshal shuts down Saint John boardwalk patios

By Brad Perry Jun 6, 2024 | 1:58 PM

Saint John’s new open-air boardwalk patios have been shut down by the province’s fire marshal.

The move comes days after the new year-round patios at Market Square welcomed their first guests.

Remaining work is taking place this week on the exterior fire suppression and alarm system, the city said in a news release on Thursday.

While that work is happening, officials said they have maintained a dedicated fire watch in the space.

The city said it takes issue with the decision as a “thorough inspection” was completed prior to the patios opening.

In addition, it said approval from the Saint John Fire Prevention Office, acting on behalf of the fire marshal’s office, and the city’s building inspection office was provided under “specific conditions.”

“With mitigation measures in place, the City is greatly disappointed by the decision to close the patios and the impact this will have on the restaurants and our community,” said the statement.

The closure of the patios does not impact the regular inside operations of the restaurants, according to the city.

In a statement, the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) said it wants to work with the city to sort this out as soon as possible.

“When a building design falls outside of code requirements, an engineer must develop an alternative solution which is reviewed by the OFM,” it said.

“The OFM approved an alternative solution for this project in the spring of 2024. The construction is not complete, and the project does not yet have signoff from the proponent’s Fire Protection Engineer.

“Once the Fire Protection Engineer signs off on the project’s completion, or an interim submission by the engineer is received by the OFM, occupancy may be granted.”