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Little uptake on Sechelt patio program

Little uptake on Sechelt patio program

Sechelt council approved Pebbles Restaurant’s application for a temporary patio along Trail Bay Boulevard. This is the second approval under a program council introduced in the late spring, to help retailers re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic recovery with larger spaces for more distancing between customers.
Unfortunately, the restaurant’s right to have the new structure occupy District property will end Oct. 31. The restaurant had remained closed from mid-March to the Sept. 16 council meeting date. Recognizing that the time needed to construct the patio, and the potential for wet fall weather impacts, Councillor Matt McLean voted against the approval.
“I don’t believe anything will come together in this timeframe and encourage the applicant to come back in January to build this patio for next summer,” said McLean.
Councillor Brenda Rowe stated that if the restaurant owners were willing to move forward knowing the structure would have to be removed by the end of the next month, it was not council’s place to question their logic.
Staff acknowledged the time constraints surrounding the application. Corporate Officer JoAnne Frank explained that staff have been working with the applicant to bring the documentation forward as quickly as possible. She said that if the application was approved, those efforts would continue.
It was also noted that a review of the temporary patio program is due to come before council in the next few months. At that point, council could consider extending the timeframe that approved installations can remain in place. Discussion on the continuation of the program in future years and adjustments to the approval process could also be debated.
The planned design at the Pebbles’ site was another concern for McLean. In his opinion, the proposed patio was too narrow to allow for safe patron access and would also be a difficult area for serving staff to negotiate.
Earlier in the year, the Sechelt Downtown Business Association was the first to complete a temporary outdoor dining patio on public property along Cowrie Street. That installation is licenced to stay in place until Oct. 31.
Public space patio programs introduced in Vancouver and North Vancouver have been extended and renewed for 2021.
Connie Jordison

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