Salmon Arm council is trying to help pave the way for sidewalk cafés and patios during the coronavirus pandemic.
Back in 2014, council requested a policy from city staff on the subject, which laid out details such as procedures and fees.
The policy includes a $300 one-time application fee, as well as a $500 refundable damage deposit and a $150 land charge for use of the street.
However, the policy sat dormant for six years until this spring, when the Hanoi 36 restaurant on Hudson applied to build a patio. The application was approved and the owner paid the fees.
At council’s June 8 meeting, Coun. Sylvia Lindgren moved that the $300 application fees be waived during 2020 due to COVID-19.
“I’m in favour of helping restaurants to do whatever it is they need to do to become profitable again,” she said.
Coun. Chad Eliason said he would like to see all the fees waived, not just the $300 application.
“I know building of the patio and placing the patio is an expensive venture,” he said, so anything the city can do to encourage the capital outlay to be used again next year and the year after would be worthwhile.
He also noted the economic development society is actively promoting restaurants downtown so the city should do whatever it can to open up more space.
The motion to waive the $300 one-time application fee and expand patron areas into the boulevard, subject to staff approval and adequate liability insurance, passed unanimously.
Coun. Kevin Flynn then made another motion – that the $150 land charge also be waived.
He said he understands why staff want to maintain the fee, but “we’re not charging for parking in a lot of spots now; it makes sense to waive it this year as well as returning it to Hanoi (36 restaurant).”
Lindgren asked if the policy only applies to restaurants, not retail spaces.
Niewenhuizen said the policy is built around restaurants, but there is interest from other businesses.
“So I think we’ll be reviewing those applications as they come in.”
The motion to waive the $150 fee, as well as refunding the payment from Hanoi 36, passed unanimously.
A city staff report from Kevin Pearson, the city’s director of development services, recommended unsuccessfully against waiving the $150 fee.
“As a disposition of city property, it is not recommended that the $150 land charge be waived/refunded. The need for an application form to be filled out for our records, drawings to scale, proof of third party liability and the $500 damage deposit remain important aspects of this process,” Pearson wrote.