The Kamloops and District Chamber of Commerce is pleased with last week’s discussion at City Hall, where councillors decided on the future of the extended patio program.
Calling it a step in the right direction, Executive Director Acacia Pangilinan says the Chamber will continue to advocate for new ways to add vibrancy in the downtown and Tranquille corridors.
“Given that this was a temporary measure to support businesses during COVID but this really is a part of realizing the Downtown and North Shore plans,” she said on NL Newsday.
“I think there are some extended sidewalks that didn’t have the opportunity to be resourced effectively. There are some that [people] want to come out and so I’m glad there is a way forward for those, but I think overall, we are really happy to see the city develop policy for things like this.”
The City will remove all temporary extended patios after October, leaving it up to businesses then to build and maintain them starting next year. It has led to calls from the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association asking that the City develop a more equitable extended patio plan.
“[Like the KCBIA], we have members that are definitely on both sides of the initiative but when we polled our membership, there was overwhelming support for things like the extended patios and things like parklets and our Chamber continues to advocate for looking at new ways to add vibrancy in our core areas,” Pangilinan added.
Unlike sidewalk letdowns for extended patios, which will be removed each year, the City policy says parklets, like the one in front of the Chamber Office on Victoria Street downtown, may be able to stay up around the year, depending on its size and location.
The City also says these public parklets will be only permitted if there is a sponsor – like a service agency, registered non-profit organization, or a licensed business – who will be responsible for maintenance.
Applications for a new parklet will cost $80 with a $40 annual renewal cost, though you won’t be able to conduct any business on site, according to the City policy.
“We have Kamloops’ first and only parklet and we get a lot of really really interesting feedback from the community around us, just people who live in the apartment buildings who want a place to sit down and things like that,” Pangilinan said.
“It was a lot of hard work to bring the parklet to life but just to actually see city staff bring some policy recommendations, so other people can access parklets, is a really big win for us.”