A Sidney staff report identifies the south side of Beacon Avenue east of Second Street as a pinch point that may begin repurposing of two or more on-street parking spaces for pedestrian and outdoor commercial uses. Council Monday will consider a staff report on balancing growing demand for outdoor seating with public health needs. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

A Sidney staff report identifies the south side of Beacon Avenue east of Second Street as a pinch point that may begin repurposing of two or more on-street parking spaces for pedestrian and outdoor commercial uses. Council Monday will consider a staff report on balancing growing demand for outdoor seating with public health needs. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

COVID-19: Island towns opening sidewalks and parking lots for business use

As B.C. enters Phase 2, businesses start to reopen using social distancing protocols

Vancouver Island communities are looking at helping struggling businesses by allowing them to move outdoors.

Parksville city council is looking at helping businesses in the same way its counterparts in Qualicum Beach decided to last week: by letting them use streets and sidewalks.

It’s a move other municipalities have looked into as well, as British Columbia moves into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 restart plant, which includes the reopening of businesses.

Shops and restaurants have had to come up with a plan to reopen safely with help from WorkSafeBC, which includes having fewer people than usual in shops and restaurants.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Qualicum Beach council to look at how businesses can utilize street space

READ MORE: COVID-19: B.C. restaurants can host dine-in guests again, but what will that look like?

In Parksville, authority would be delegated to the corporate officer, allowing staff to approve applications to expand business onto sidewalks and into parking areas.

Its motion reads: “THAT in response to COVID-19, staff be directed to implement a process whereby the Mayor and Corporate Officer may issue licences of occupation to permit local businesses to utilize public sidewalk spaces and public parking areas for the purpose of additional seating or safe queuing. 2. THAT business owners be permitted to use their onsite private parking to expand their seating without triggering requirements for City permits.”

“If it’s on your property, go for it,” Mayor Ed Mayne said. “If you want to sacrifice two or three parking spots on your property so that you can expand a patio, go for it, I think it’s the right thing for you to do as long as its safe – we don’t need to be involved with it at all.”

Sidney is making similar allowances for restaurants and cafes.

Alison Verhagen, Sidney’s senior manager for planning and recovery, said the move would allow food service businesses with off-street parking spaces to repurpose some of those spaces for outdoor tables and chairs as commercial life resumes following the lifting of some restrictions by the provincial government.

“Not all downtown restaurants and cafes have off-street parking spaces but some do, and this change may alleviate some demands for use of public space,” she said, adding that the change could happen in a single council meeting because no public hearing would be required.

The report also recommends that Sidney allow sidewalk café areas to expand beyond sidewalk edges into the streets.

“This change would give staff the option to issue a license that allows tables, chairs, umbrellas, screens and portable planters in a repurposed on-street parking space,” she said.

The report also recommends staff monitor what it calls “pedestrian levels, lineups for commercial businesses and demand for outdoor seating for food vending businesses” in addressing “pinch points as they arise. Sidney could achieve this goal by repurposing on-street parking spaces as protected pedestrian spaces or outdoor seating areas with the expectation that staff would report back if it became necessary to close streets or re-purpose entire blocks of on-street parking.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

City CouncilCoronavirusParksville

Just Posted

SAR crews worked late into the night Tuesday to rescue an injured snowboarder in North Vancouver. (Facebook/North Shore Rescue)
Our view: Regular rescues should not be required

Still far too many incidents of people putting themselves at risk

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

COVID cases in the Bella Coola Valley have dropped to just four active cases (file photo)
Expanding social circles fuelling North Island COVID-19 spike

Comox Valley COVID spike the result of ‘a series of multiple social gatherings’

Stephen Nutt, left, and mom Julia Mewhort. (Submitted photo)
Mom worries about treatment delays after son’s drug death in Parksville

Stephen Nutt died from fentanyl laced with methamphetamine and heroin while in supportive housing

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Nanaimo Courthouse. (News Bulletin file photo)
Motorist sentenced to two years for dangerous driving causing death on Gabriola Island

William Goosman pleaded guilty last fall in connection with incident that killed Jay Dearman

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Stock photo
COVID-19 cases reported at Nanaimo’s Mountain View, Aspengrove schools

Public and independent schools report exposures of virus Feb. 16, Feb. 18-19 respectively

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Most Read