White Rock council has endorsed creating temporary on-street patios for other food and beverage establishments outside of the current Marine Drive one-way closure area.
The move follows a report and recommendation from planning and development services director Carl Isaak that it would be one way the city could offset reduced business revenues as a result of limited indoor seating during the pandemic.
It would apply not only to Marine Drive businesses outside of the designated area – such as Cosmos Restaurant, which had asked for permission for an expanded patio – but also restaurants, cafés and liquor-primary establishments in uptown White Rock.
The main difference between the new class of expanded patios and those in the existing one-way section of Marine Drive is that in all cases, including Cosmos, the restaurants would be using parking spaces rather than looking for another lane closure.
Following suggestions from Coun. David Chesney and Coun. Anthony Manning, it was decided to ask White Rock BIA executive director Alex Nixon to reach out to all eligible businesses to let them know the option is available.
The move will not be without cost to the city – in reponse to questions from Coun. Helen Fathers, financial services director Colleen Ponzini estimated that it would result in lost parking revenues of some $7,000 per restaurant per year, while engineering and operations director Jim Gordon said it would likely cost an additional $2,000 per business per year to rent and install barriers.
After questions from Chesney, however, Ponzini remained adamant that such a program could access COVID-recovery funding already received by the city from the federal government.
Authorizing the creation of the patios was passed by a majority of council, with Fathers voting against.