The City of Kamloops says all remaining extended sidewalk patios in the downtown core will be removed tonight, Nov. 2.
While a majority of these “unwanted” extended patios were removed in June after the Memorial Cup, the removal of the final few will mean the return of about 40 metered parking spots in downtown Kamloops.
“There will be all that parking for the Christmas and the winter season and then for next year hopefully they’ll have a new program in place that will be temporary patios that will be the pop up models that will be seasonal,” Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association (KCBIA) Executive Director Howie Reimer told Radio NL in June.
In a post on Twitter, the City of Kamloops asked residents to be careful while on downtown streets Thursday night, especially in areas where there are work crews. They also said there will be traffic control personnel in place.
The extended patio program was put in place in 2020 to help businesses stay afloat at a time when COVID-19 health orders meant restrictions on how many people could be indoors in a public place.
Patios initially had wooden sidewalk extensions, which were replaced with the current brick extensions in 2021.
Businesses that want extended patios back for next year will have to pay for all construction and maintenance costs as well as $700 per displaced parking stall for the seven-month patio season from April 1 to October 31, translating to $100 a month.
“Generally, it was felt that the sidewalk patio extension program has a very positive impact, that it increases the downtown’s vibrancy, and it outweighs the loss of parking,” the City’s Planning and Development Manager Rod Martin said during a January City Council meeting.
“The proposed fee of $700 will not offset all of the lost parking revenue. However, it will cover the increased cost for City crews to maintain the areas surrounding the sidewalks and is in line with the amount that businesses indicated they were willing to pay to have an extended patio in response to the KCBIA survey.”
Martin told council the City is out about $15,000 per month in total lost parking revenue, or about $375 per stall.
“[Our] vision is one of a walkable, pedestrian friendly downtown,” Reimer said in a January letter to City Council that called for a more “equitable” extended patio plan.
“We believe extended patios add vibrancy and increased benefits to many businesses, however the program needs flexibility due to inconclusive parking metrics and for those participating businesses disadvantaged by narrower sidewalks in the 500 and 600 blocks of Victoria Street.”
Back in January, Martin told Radio NL he is not sure what it could cost to install and remove extended patios each year. He also said businesses will have a lot of “flexibility” as long as the patios meet City safety standards.
“It depends on the design of the patio and whether they are actually going to placing their patio in the parking stalls or whether its going to have the bypass the sidewalk,” Martin said.
“If they don’t want to pay the additional cost for the extended patio, they still have the option of the regular patios that take up only a portion of the sidewalk and don’t require the use of any of the parking stalls,” Martin added, noting those patios come with an $80 application fee and $40 annual renewal cost.
“You need to ensure that you’ve got 1.5 metre clear walking area along the sidewalk. It can’t be encumbered with tree wells and planters and fire hydrants and stuff like that, it has to be clear where you can walk through it or have a wheelchair going through it.”