A Vancouver city councillor wants to make the temporary patios that have popped up outside restaurants, cafes, bars and breweries during the COVID-19 pandemic a permanent fixture in the city every summer.
Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung says she’s filed a draft motion to Vancouver city council asking staff to report back on the results of the city’s Temporary Expedited Patio Program, as well as options to have an annual seasonal patio program.
“I think it’s something that people would like to see stick around,” Kirby-Yung said.
“We’ve unleashed an appetite for much more creative, people-focused use of our public space, and I’d like to see that continue.”
260 patios approved
The city started accepting applications for the temporary patios on June 1, after the provincial government decided to allow businesses like restaurants, cafés and breweries to apply to expand their service licenses.
The province recognized the need to help the hard hit restaurant industry recover from the pandemic. The wider service area was not meant to increase occupancy levels, but to allow for physical distancing.
Local governments were tasked with approving the patio requests, and since then, more than 260 patios have popped up throughout Vancouver.
One of the good things that the new normal has brought is this amazing outdoor patios! I hope the it will be a recurrent thing every summer from now and on. The streets are full of life and there is a sense of joy that comes with them! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/vancouver?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#vancouver</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/patios?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#patios</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/urbanism?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#urbanism</a> <a href=”https://t.co/DRXr1dWjMX”>pic.twitter.com/DRXr1dWjMX</a>
Motion to be reviewed on Sept. 15
In addition to the social aspects of more patios, Kirby-Yung said they have been a lifeline for the city’s struggling restaurant sector.
“They said they just couldn’t have made the numbers work with the physical distancing requirements if they had been limited to their indoor spaces,” Kirby-Yung said.
“This is something that has honestly kept them going.”
“Business likes certainty and as a result they will be able to build patio sales into their business plan in the future,” Tostenson said.
New pop-up plaza ar Cambie & 18th! Room for people. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/roomtoeat?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#roomtoeat</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/roomtobe?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#roomtobe</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/publicspace?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#publicspace</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/CambieVillageBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@CambieVillageBA</a> <a href=”https://t.co/ra7io69I5M”>pic.twitter.com/ra7io69I5M</a>
As far as opposition goes, Kirby-Yung says she’s heard little pushback besides some accessibility concerns that have more to do with items like bicycles resting near the patios, which have to be taken down every day.
The motion also proposes a review of the nine pop-up plazas across the city that provide commons-style gathering and eating spaces.
Kirby-Yung says the motion will be reviewed during a Sept. 15 meeting following the council’s summer break.
For now, people can enjoy Vancouver’s new patios until the end of October, when the current licenses expire.