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Oak Bay gets cooking on roadside patio permitting process

Current provincial program allows for the public-space seating until next spring
In the wake of temporary uses creating patio seating in parking lots during the pandemic, Oak Bay is investigating options for allowing them to continue. (Black Press Media file photo)

Oak Bay aims to arm itself with information as it embarks on a project to develop and implement a new patio permitting system and process to regulate the use of public space for use by liquor and food service establishments.

The district will issue a request for proposals for a consultant to help develop a permitting process for pop-up street and sidewalk patios that emerged early in the COVID-19 pandemic. In spring 2020 many businesses took advantage of a provincial plan that allowed them to expand operational footprints and offer food and liquor services on public property including parking spaces and roadways.

READ ALSO: Province patio extension means Oak Bay eateries enjoy outdoor spaces to 2023

The province’s temporary expanded service areas program was set to expire on June 1, but the program was extended until March 31, 2023, for businesses with existing authorizations. The province said it was to allow time for local authorities to update policies and for licensees to apply.

A handful of businesses impacted by a patio near Oak Bay Avenue and Foul Bay Road offered input for council to consider as it embarks on potential policies. A letter in the June 20 meeting agenda, signed by businesses Prestige Picture Framing, Kande Hair Salon and Pemberton Homes, shared negative effects of the patio in front of them.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay eateries sharing communal patio space in Estevan Village

The section of the street is reduced to one parking space, the letter said. The patio is near the busy intersection of Oak Bay Avenue and Foul Bay Road and impacts both vehicle and bicycle traffic.

And the space may not be necessary to the eatery it serves, the letter noted, with about 10 feet of usable space adjacent to the building that could be utilized.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay News readers respond to on-street patio dining

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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