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City gives the nod to two more sidewalk cafes on Salmon Arm’s Alexander Street

Downtown Parking Commission approves the plan with two stipulations
Alexander Street, between Hudson Avenue NE and Lakeshore Drive NE, gets a fresh coat of paint in preparation for the return of the Alexander Plaza downtown market. (Downtown Salmon Arm photo)

Alexander Street in Salmon Arm will be home to two more sidewalk cafes.

Weekends Restaurant & Lounge and Stillfood Bistro & Cappuccino Bar both applied to expand their restaurants to include sidewalk cafes.

At its Feb. 27 meeting, council requested that the applications be sent to the city’s Downtown Parking Commission for input on the potential loss of parking spots.

Downtown Salmon Arm, the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce and the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society had already submitted letters to council in support of the two applications.

The parking commission met on Feb. 28, with the majority of members voting in favour. Gerald Forman, owner of Shuswap Clothing & Shoe Company on Alexander St. NE, was alone in voting against. The commission gave its approval as long as two conditions are met: that only one parking stall be utilized by each applicant and that the sidewalk cafes conform to city policy design and construction guidelines.

Weekends’ plans included only one parking spot while Stillfood Bistro’s design included two.

City staff told council at its March 13 meeting that both owners told staff they could work with just one parking spot each. Staff also expressed a willingness to work with the applicants to ensure the designs meet the recommendations.

Both Stillfood Bistro and Weekends were approved for and installed temporary evening cafe setups in 2022 to be operated between 4 and 10 p.m. and then dismantled. The city policy allows only one sidewalk cafe per block.

The more permanent ones can be put up in May like the other sidewalk cafes on city streets and remain until the end of October.

Shuswap Pie Company, which has the other sidewalk cafe on Alexander, occupies two parking spots. Staff said the stipulation from the Downtown Parking Commission for just one stall was related to the policy allowing only one sidewalk cafe per block.

City council voted unanimously at its March 13 meeting to allow the two new sidewalk cafes as long as they are built on just one parking stall each.

Coun. Sylvia Lindgren said if they can be done in one parking stall, she is fully supportive.

“I don’t have too many concerns of how many are on the street, especially in the summer. It brings the downtown to life.”

Coun. Tim Lavery said he thinks council needs to support staff by clarifying what should be done if further requests come down the line.

He said council should “have a fulsome discussion on where and when restaurants can have sidewalk cafes.”

Erin Jackson, the city’s chief administrative officer, said staff thinks the policy could be reviewed over summer and brought back in the fall when the impact of adding new sidewalk cafes would be known.

Read more: Two more sidewalk cafes proposed for one downtown Salmon Arm street

Read more: Salmon Arm council decides to waive fees for sidewalk cafés during pandemic
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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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