Amanda Vance, executive director of the Downtown Duncan BIA, stands in front of downtown’s open-air food court when it opened last July. (File photo)

Amanda Vance, executive director of the Downtown Duncan BIA, stands in front of downtown’s open-air food court when it opened last July. (File photo)

Duncan’s open-air food court to return

But venue will have concrete picnic tables this year

The popular open-air food court that operated in Duncan’s Station Street Common last summer will be returning this year, but with a few changes.

Amanda Vance, executive director of the Downtown Duncan BIA which operates the food court, said there will be some modifications to the venue this year, including having concrete tables that will be in place 24/7 for the season instead of the small, portable tables that were used last year that had to be removed every night and put back every morning.

The food court was established in downtown Duncan during the summer months last year to assist local restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly to address restrictions on customer numbers in restaurants brought on by the health crisis.

RELATED STORY: PLAN UNDERWAY FOR FOOD COURT IN DUNCAN’S STATION STREET PARK

With the pandemic still ongoing and with restaurants still dealing with health protocols that severely limit their business as the warmer months begin, Vance said the association is working hard to have the food court open again by sometime in mid June or early July.

She said the DDBIA is currently applying for a number of grants to help pay for the venue this year, and the association was successful in acquiring a $10,000 grant from the City of Duncan’s COVID-19 grant program at the council meeting on April 19 for the concrete tables.

But one councillor raised a number of concerns about the plan at the meeting. Coun. Bob Brooke said he believes placing concrete tables in Station Street Common would be a huge intrusion on the use of the green space.

He said he liked the layout last year with the little tables and chairs that made the area look like a bistro.

RELATED STORY: DOWNTOWN DUNCAN OPEN-AIR FOOD COURT OPENS

“It was very attractive and very well run, and while I understand that it takes a lot of effort every day to put the tables away and return them the next day, I think the city will incur a lot of cost mowing and weeding around these concrete tables,” Brooke said. “I just don’t think it’s particularly attractive and the concrete tables limit the use of the property.”

Vance said the goal this year is to cover seating for restaurants and takeouts downtown 24/7, instead of just during the hours that the tables were in place, as was the case last year.

CAO Peter de Verteuil added that in discussions with Vance and the DDBIA, it was also pointed out that there were a lot of costs related to the constant moving of the tables and the oversight of the venue and, while the DDBIA has applied for more grant funding from other sources to meet labour costs this year, there’s no guarantee that the applications will be successful.

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN VALLEY RESTAURANTS TRY TO SURVIVE WITH NEW RESTRICTIONS

He also said that it won’t be much extra effort for park staff to mow and weed around the concrete tables.

Coun. Jenni Capps said granting the funding for the concrete tables would be a good use of the money. She said people are already asking if and when the food court will be open this year.

“The food court hit a home run last year,” Capps said. “I’ve received so many positive comments about it.”

The motion to grant the DDBIA funding for the tables passed, with Brooke opposed.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Just Posted

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read