If you smell freshly cut lumber outside of eateries and pubs in the Tri-Cities, it’s likely for new patios built during the pandemic.
Now, the city of Coquitlam is encouraging more businesses to make use of their outdoor spaces as the weather warms up — and to take advantage of the municipality’s fast-track application service.
Last fall, city council voted to extend the temporary patio program in a bid to boost the local economy. The move coincides with the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch’s policy to allow temporary patios until Oct. 31, 2021, for food- and liquor-primary establishments.
Under Coquitlam’s program, which was introduced last summer, businesses don’t have to meet a number of usual municipal requirements such as building permits, site reviews or business licence amendments.
Rather, owners can apply and — typically within two days — can push out into their own property, or to a public right-of-way (sidewalk or curbside parking stalls) nearby. There, staff can serve food and drink, sell merchandise and have a kiosk as well as a checkout desk.
And business owners who were issued a patio permit by the city last year don’t have to reapply; no additional insurance requirements are needed for outdoor spaces that are privately held.
Last year, about a dozen businesses received permits including the Cactus Club, Coquitlam Alliance Church, Doppio Pizza, Ikea, Kook’s Cooks, Me ’n Eds, Polito’s Latin Cafe, Woody’s, Coffee and Vanilla, High Street Pizza and Titi Home Made Food.
City staff told council last November that they didn’t get the wave of applications they were expecting because landlords or stratas didn’t want stalls or sidewalks taken up, or impede on lease restrictions.
To find out where the patios are this year, go to visitcoquitlam.ca/eat-drink.