Vancouver’s temporary patio program will be fully available to restaurants seeking outdoor seating on private property by the end of the month, says the city.
Council approved steps on Thursday to expand the program, meant to help struggling restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. However a vote on bylaw changes won’t take place until June 30.
The program already covered patio extensions onto public property such as sidewalks or road space.
If the bylaw changes are approved, the city says applications for private property will still take longer than the public options, owing to the need for a more “comprehensive application and building review.”
The city says it is also working with 18 businesses looking to put patios on private property on interim solutions.
One of those businesses is Vancouver’s Como Taperia, which went public with its application woes last week.
The company had initially reopened on the expectation it would be granted a permit, only to close again when it found out it didn’t qualify because of property ownership issues.
Co-owner Frankie Harrington says he’s now working with city staff, and expects to have an individualized exception of some kind in place by next week.
“We’re excited. We’ve been looking forward to opening for a long time now,” said Harrington.
“We’re excited to get our staff back, as we had hired them back last week, and then we have to let go again.
“We can’t make it work unless we get a deal.”
Harrington said the delay in regulatory changes to allow restaurants like his to have a patio shows that the city doesn’t see the same urgency as small businesses, but that he hopes the issue will shine more light on the process.
The city said Friday it has approved 47 temporary expedited patio permits since the applications opened on June 1. Six of those permits are for private property.
The permits are valid until Oct. 31, 2020.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.