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Two more sidewalk cafes proposed for one downtown Salmon Arm street

Policy allows only one per street but council in favour, wants parking commission input
This City of Salmon Arm map shows existing and proposed sidewalk patios on city property. Not included are those on private property. On Feb. 27, council entertained requests from Stillfood Bistro and Weekends Restaurant. (City of Salmon Arm image)

Two more sidewalk patios are proposed for Downtown Salmon Arm.

Stillfood Bistro and Weekends Restaurant, both on Alexander Street NE, have applied to the city for seasonal sidewalk cafes.

City staff noted the two restaurants were both approved for temporary evening cafe setups last year to be operated between 4 and 10 p.m. and then dismantled.

The request for seasonal sidewalk cafes is coming to council because the city policy allows only one seasonal sidewalk cafe per block. The Shuswap Pie Company already has one, so the new requests would make three on Alexander.

Staff explained that the previously approved sidewalk cafes (Shuswap Pie Co., Night Cafe, Anvil Coffee and Hanoi 36) have made significant financial investments in the free-standing structures built to comply with the policy. Because of that, those businesses can renew their permits each year prior to any new applications being reviewed or approved.

While the Pie Company built its structure to stand on parking stalls, the Night Cafe built its on the sidewalk with a route for pedestrians to go around on the street. Staff said both Weekends and Stillfood Bistro wish to build their patios on the sidewalk.

Weekends’ plan would use one parking spot and Stillfood Bistros’ would use two.

Read more: Hanoi 36 Restaurant in Salmon Arm looks beyond COVID-19 to patio seating

Read more: B.C. extends pandemic patio program until next spring as summer season looms

Staff recommended the applications be forwarded to the Downtown Parking Commission for review and comment as the plans would impact available on-street parking on Alexander.

Downtown Salmon Arm, the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society and the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce all sent letters of support for the applications to council.

In discussions at council’s Feb. 27 meeting, all members of council who commented recognized the success of the sidewalk cafes in activating downtown and they voiced support for the patios. Coun. Tim Lavery said he had similar thoughts, but he would like to hear from the parking commission so council can discuss the applications further at its next meeting.

Staff said more discussions are needed with the applicants regarding design and construction in order to meet the policy requirements.

Lavery noted he had seen that non-slip surfaces are required for the seating areas and the walkways around the patios. He said early last October when temperatures started freezing at night, he found that the walkway at the Night Cafe was really slippery. He asked who would be liable if someone fell.

Erin Jackson, the city’s chief administrative officer, said if someone fell and took up a claim against the city, the city would have to defend it. She said she wasn’t certain about liability, as it could depend on a number of factors, such as if the cafe owner had followed city policy rules.

Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond asked if patios on private property such as those belonging to Pink Cherry, Chiang Mai and Cantina Vallarta required permits. Staff said no, as long as they aren’t using the sidewalk or parking stalls.

Sidewalk cafes in Salmon Arm can be set up in May and must be removed by the end of October so as not to interfere with snow removal.

Council is expected to make a decision on the applications at its March 13 meeting.

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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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