More downtown patios envisioned with Town plan

Expect to see a few more outdoor “eating spaces” downtown this summer season as the Town of Osoyoos gets to work on its Town Centre Renewal Plan.

Town Council Monday agreed to a request from administration for instruction to tweak an existing Sidewalk Use Policy to allow for downtown restaurant operators to establish patios in front of their businesses.

“A review of the current policy has identified that the policy would benefit from a refresh,” writes senior planner Don McArthur in a report to Council.

“Staff propose to revise the current Policy and amend the [traffic bylaw] to enable the establishment of a limited number of patios in the Town Centre.”

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Currently, only four small tables are permitted. The planning team envisions larger outdoor spaces accompanied by a 1.5-metre pedestrian walk zone (or treadway) that would be maintained by the restaurant.

The treadway would be enclosed within a fence and detour the sidewalk into parking spaces in front of the restaurant.

“Those parking spaces could then be utilized by small cars, bicycles or motorcycles,” Mr. McArthur explains. “In order to maintain sufficient parking, the number of patios that require use of parking stalls will be limited by the revised Policy.

“Additionally, there is a plan to install wayfinding to direct visitors to existing parking lots on 74th and 78th Avenues, which are not currently used to capacity.”

Responding to a question from Coun. King, Mr. McArthur said only a limited number of patios would be allowed downtown, although he was unsure what that number would be.

Mayor Sue McKortoff also suggested the proposed change got to the Town’s Accessibility Committee.

“I just think that it would be a good idea to ask them.”

Gina MacKay, the Town’s Director of Planning and Development Services, said there are several oversight opportunities to ensure the patios work for everyone involved.

“We would require that they submit plans for approval to the building inspector,” she told Council. “It would also have to be approved by Operational Services and they would also have to have a permit to work within the road right-of-way.

“There’s quite a process that would have to take place in order for them to construct something.”

The creation of sidewalk patios was one of the recommendations of the town centre development plan proposed last fall. Other improvements include a street plaza, a new community landmark, a parklette patio and conversation corners.

Coun. CJ Rhodes reminded Council this idea goes back a decade and wondered how quickly it could be implemented.

“The intention is for this spring,” replied Mr. McArthur.

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