Vancouver city council has voted to make pop-up patios a regular summertime occurrence.
City council voted Tuesday in favour of a new summer patio program that evolved out of its temporary expedited patio program, which was introduced last spring to help restaurants meet physical distancing requirements amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new program will be for both private and public property and will run annually from April 1 to Oct. 31 starting next year.
A staff report noted that 692 temporary patio permits were issued this summer, up from 421 issued in the summer of 2020.
The report also highlighted the need for further discussion of issues associated with the program, such as accessibility concerns, displacement of sidewalk space, parking and bus services, as well as concerns regarding the privatization of public space.
Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung said the pilot was a “runaway success,” and there was a lot of support from business owners and the general public.
“It was about more than COVID, it was about creating a patio culture in Vancouver,” she said.
Kirby-Yung added that staff will audit all existing patios and new patios to ensure they are fully accessible.
According to a statement from the City of Vancouver, applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and the City may no longer support some of the existing temporary patios.
“For example, limited food establishments without public washrooms may be restricted from summer patios given their occupant capacity or patios on some arterial streets may not be viable as traffic volumes resume,” the City said.
–With files from John Hua