The City changed its approach and made it easier for restaurants to set up outdoor spaces this summer.
You know what that means: Way more patios in Vancouver. Which means a way better patio season. Which means way more patio chill seshes for Vancouverites.
It’s not going to be nearly as difficult or expensive for owners to take the plunge now. Before, it was not only expensive but also time-consuming and difficult to get all the way through the process, which may have kept establishments from launching a patio.
As a result, they were worried about missing out on business, especially as they recovered from the pandemic.
Getting report back my motion for ‘Making Pop-Up Patios A Part of Every Summer in Vancouver’ to retain vibrant #patio culture we created during pandemic that saved restaurants & let people be out safely. Program to be permanent part of our city life with > focus accessibility. pic.twitter.com/FOxfvQ8UeM
— Sarah Kirby-Yung 楊瑞蘭 (@sarahkirby_yung) September 22, 2021
The new changes to the city’s patio program were announced on March 11, when city staff highlighted three major developments.
Before, businesses had to draft up new technical drawings for their patio programs every time they applied. Now, they can just resubmit the ones they used last time, and they don’t need to be produced by a professional architect anymore.
Another amendment that offers some flexibility is allowing businesses to transfer up to 50 per cent of their capacity from inside to a patio.
And curbside patios will be allowed in front of neighbouring businesses, just like they have been for the last two years.
Essentially, all of this makes it easier for people to reapply for patios without a headache.
“This change will allow many restaurants to achieve the same patio that they had last year, and make it easier for the City to shift patios around utilities, avoid trapped parking spaces, and create loading areas and accessible parking spaces,” the City said in a statement.
Mayor Kennedy Stewart added, “Staff continue to work hard to respond to the needs of small businesses in Vancouver. Thanks to their hard work, I’m confident we’ll all be enjoying another successful patio season this year, and for years to come.”
Earlier in March, the BC Craft Brewers Guild and BC Restaurant and Food Services Association said the last rules created too much “red tape” for business owners.
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One barrier still remains: The non-refundable application fee and a per-square-metre fee on patios.
Ian Tostenson with the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association is still pretty pleased with the results, thanking the city for being responsive to public concerns.
“City staff and councillors stood by us to make some last-minute but substantial changes to help with this summer’s patio program. A sincere thanks to the city and our partners at the BC Craft Brewers Guild for coming together to make this happen,” he said in a statement.
“This approach will serve us well for the future.”