Port Coquitlam offering free city labour to restaurants to help construct their patios

May 19 2020, 5:44 pm

Municipal governments in Metro Vancouver continue to make headway with reforming their policies that allow for expedited flexible patios for restaurants ahead of BC’s economic restart and fair weather conditions.

But the City of Port Coquitlam says it is going a step further by offering its city workers to perform free services, such as assisting with the construction of temporary platforms or mobile structures, reconfigured lane markings, revised parking restrictions or relocated infrastructure such as signs, planters, benches, and garbage bins.

It is part of the municipal government’s suite of measures approved last week to support restaurants and other businesses by streets and sidewalks for patios, queues into stores, or display space.

In addition, the city is streamlining processes and providing a “one-stop shop” for right-of-way encroachment permits, waiving fees for applications, security, and permits for 2020, and temporarily eliminating late fees for business licenses.

“This is a challenging and stressful time for our local businesses as they rethink how they operate,” said Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West in a statement.

“We wanted to act swiftly to make it easier for businesses to meet the requirements and get up and running as soon as possible. We also know the community is eager to do more to support local businesses and to resume some normal activities as long as it is safe to do so.”

Various other municipal governments have adopted or are in the process of considering their own policies for restaurant patios.

On May 11, North Vancouver city council directed its staff to develop a flexible and expedited patio process for restaurants, craft breweries, and pubs on a temporary basis.

This was followed by Vancouver city council’s approval later in the week of a motion that called for similar measures to create an expedited flexible patio permitting process, allowing restaurants to use sidewalks and side streets for their patios.

Vancouver announced today it has rescinded its ban on restaurant table service and will open up its expedited permitting process within the next two weeks.

Richmond city council is considering a motion with similar patio measures supporting businesses in a meeting this evening.

“Ensuring a clear and simple path for adding patio space, which will allow for outdoor physical distancing, will help our small businesses survive and recover as we adjust to the ‘new normal’. Patio space should be considered for private property, including parking facilities, and public street parking, with no consideration of sidewalks,” reads the Richmond motion.

“Permitting and licensing costs should be minimal and approval times accelerated to encourage uptake of the patio program. Hours of operation, temporary relaxation of zoning parking requirements, and temporary relaxation of restroom to occupancy load requirements should be additionally considered.”