New outdoor dining rules proposed for downtown Kelowna on Bernard | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New outdoor dining rules proposed for downtown Kelowna on Bernard

Downtown on Bernard Avenue.
April 22, 2021 - 5:30 PM


That was Dustin Keller’s immediate reaction to hearing the news City of Kelowna staff are recommending that restaurants be able to expand their outdoor patios into parking stalls. Keller is the bar manager at Cantina Del Centro on Bernard Avenue.

The restaurant owner, Brad Filleul, sent a petition to City Hall in March asking that two blocks of Bernard Avenue be closed to traffic on May 20 instead of July 1 as planned by the City.

READ MORE: Kelowna restaurateurs pushing to close Bernard Avenue before summer

Filleul drafted the petition after indoor dining was banned by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in an effort to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

In a report going to council on Monday, April 26, staff say closing the street entirely would cost the City money and impact traffic and other businesses.

Instead, they suggest the existing sidewalks remain as they are but restaurants can apply to put tables in the current “sidewalk furnishing area” and parking stalls. They may even be able to borrow space from neighbouring businesses.

That would still allow for the free flow of traffic and bikes on the road, and street sweeping can still be done within the current budget.

“If endorsed by council, staff are prepared to receive applications and setup infrastructure immediately,” the report reads.

For Cantina Del Centro, that will likely mean a doubling of its existing 16 seats. Once the street is closed completely, as planned in July, they will have about 35 seats in addition to their regular patio, Keller said.

While the petition asked only for the closing of the 200 and 300 blocks, the ability to use parking spaces will extend to the 400 and 500 blocks as well.

Unused parking spaces will still be available for car parking, where feasible, the report says.

“Will we be able to serve liquor in the parking area?” was Keller’s only concern. “I want to make sure we aren’t breaking any laws.”

The report doesn’t deal with liquor service but the City’s web page for its Temporary Parking Lot Dining Program, which this falls under, says the restaurant just has to make sure such service is allowed under its liquor licence.

The City’s Meet Me On Bernard summer closure of four blocks of Bernard Avenue follows on the success of a pilot project that closed the street last summer to help restaurants survive under COVID restrictions and will still go ahead this summer.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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