Port Coquitlam is moving quickly to allow roads, sidewalks and other easements to be used by restaurants, stores other businesses opening as part of the province’s Phase 2 recovery plan.
The extra space will provide more room for customers as businesses seek to control the numbers of people in their establishment and ensure they remain two metres apart.
“This is a challenging and stressful time for our local businesses as they rethink how they operate,” said Mayor Brad West in a press release. “We wanted to act swiftly to make it easier for businesses to meet the requirements and get up and running as soon as possible. We also know the community is eager to do more to support local businesses and to resume some normal activities as long as it is safe to do so.”
This week, council approved a plan that would open up public rights-of-way, such as streets, sidewalks and parking lots around businesses for commercial activities such as patios, lineups and product displays.
The city would support these uses by offering in-kind services such as construction of temporary platforms or mobile structures, reconfigured lane markings, revised parking restrictions or move things such as signs, planters, benches and waste containers.
There will also be a “one-stop shop” for right-of-way encroachment permits, as well, application, security and other permit fees would be waived for 2020. And late fees for business licences will be waived temporarily.
The move is welcomed by the Port Coquitlam BIA.
“I appreciate the measures that are being taken by the city to accommodate the opening of our businesses. We will continue to support any options that provide assistance to the downtown, in the hopes of alleviating any further stress of our members during this time,” executive director Jennifer McKinnon told The Tri-City News via email.
The city is also surveying businesses about how they have been impacted by the pandemic and what supports they need to recover. The survey is at www.portcoquitlam.ca/bizhub.
Businesses interested in using these new outdoor amenities should contact the City’s Property Use Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 604-927-5266