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Nelson to allow expanded patios, but with conditions

Nelson city council has agreed to allow restaurants to have patios for free again in 2022, but expanded patios will come with a price and be limited to a three-month period.

The Chamber of Commerce asked for another year of a policy that saw restaurants allowed to take up more parking spaces than would otherwise be permitted, with the consent of neighbouring businesses.

In 2020, the city loosened its rules around patios in recognition of COVID-related restrictions on indoor dining. Those same rules were used again this year. But while the city will continue to waive the fees for normal-size patios next year, they will charge those who want to occupy extra space and only allow extended patios from July 1 to Sept. 30.

Council approved the staff recommendation, intended to ensure that expanded patios are actually used, with only councillor Cal Renwick opposed.

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“I think it strikes a good balance of ensuring [restaurants] are using patio space that they think they’re actually going to utilize,” councillor Keith Page said.

“The goal should be that the street is vibrant but also if there’s no fee attached, then why wouldn’t you build as big as you want? If it can be full, empty, or somewhere in between, there’s no pressure to moderate the size.”

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