Petition urges council to close part of downtown Vernon to traffic
An online petition is asking Vernon city council to close two blocks of 30 Avenue downtown to support struggling businesses.
Council has already voted in favour of a motion to close 30 Avenue from 29 to 31 Streets from Thursday to Sunday starting May 13, but has directed staff to bring back a report on the costs and options for businesses at its May 10 regular meeting.
Councillor Dalvir Nahal made the motion to close part of the street in an effort to help restaurants struggling with COVID-19 restrictions that ban indoor dining. Public health orders currently do not allow indoor dining.
An online Change.org petition started by William Oordt-Bosman, April 25, states local businesses need more support than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The petition is addressed to city council.
“This could be a proactive way to allow business and customers to more easily practice physical distancing. Additionally, restaurants, in particular, have been most recently hit with restrictions banning indoor dining. The proposal would allow businesses to utilize the road for outdoor patios and could be a great opportunity for the city to help those who don't have the space,” Oordt-Bosman wrote.
He referenced how Kelowna blocked off sections of Bernard Avenue to vehicle traffic last year which had an overall positive response from businesses and pedestrians.
As of April 27, the petition has gathered more than 340 signatures out of its 500 goal.
Other cities, including Kamloops, West Kelowna and Kelowna, have also initiated temporary outdoor patio programs to help restaurants.
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