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HomeNewsPatio over parking expected to continue in Nelson, but with costs

Patio over parking expected to continue in Nelson, but with costs

Patio season has sprung in Nelson which means restaurants will be extending their patios once again to allow residents and tourists to enjoy the city’s beauty..

Restaurant owners will be welcome to extend their patios, but this year they will have to pay a cost associated with the additions. 

Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Thomson appeared in front of council noting how fees were waived at the height of the pandemic, but now that restrictions have eased off it is time to restore those fees.

“The city, over the last three years, was in a full pandemic and they allowed patios to be expanded on to Baker Street and such,” Thomson says. “It was put in place to allow for safety as well as make sure people were allowed to dine out.

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“It was also a way for us to make sure businesses could get back to some profitability.”

He says council was looking at returning to the old patio bylaws for this season, but after the chamber consulted businesses around the city they saw a demand to retain the current patios.

“Through consultations with many of the downtown businesses we realized there was still a large demand for the extended patios,” he says. “We want to make sure council is aware there is still a challenge with the pandemic.

“We want to make sure businesses who want to expand have the option to do so.” 

Thomson says the 2023 season is going to be similar to the previous season other than the fact restaurants will have to pay for their expansion.

According to Thomson, restaurant owners will be on the hook to pay the equivalent of what a parking meter would bring in on the particular spot hosting the extended patio.

“The cost would depend on where they are located and what they would be paying,” he says. “It could be between $2,500 to $4,000 a month for the use of those spaces.”

He says this year the province hasn’t issued any COVID relief money for businesses. 

“The province offered money so we could offer the space for patios for free because of the support from the province,” Thomson says. “Now they are going back to the existing fee structure which was in place in 2019.”

Thomson says despite the added cost businesses are still looking to retain their patios for another year, but not necessarily expand them. 

Patio season runs from May 1 to Sept. 30.

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