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COVID-19: Port Coquitlam will eat construction costs for eateries to build patios

Vancouver Sun logo Vancouver Sun 2 days ago Tiffany Crawford
a group of people standing around a bench: Port Coquitlam has earmarked $50,000 from the existing budget and will use the city's construction crew to help businesses expand their patios on sidewalks or streets. Pictured here, an outdoor seating area on Vancouver's Robson Street. © Jason Payne Port Coquitlam has earmarked $50,000 from the existing budget and will use the city's construction crew to help businesses expand their patios on sidewalks or streets. Pictured here, an outdoor seating area on Vancouver's Robson Street.

Port Coquitlam is offering to pay construction costs to help restaurants, cafes and breweries build or expand outdoor patios as businesses look for ways to safely reopen during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Brad West says the city has put aside $50,000 from the existing budget and will use the city’s construction crew to help businesses expand their patios on sidewalks or streets.

“This could include temporary platforms, or mobile structures, reconfigured lane markings. It could be infrastructure such as signs, planters, benches, patios — really everything is on the table,” said West on Saturday.

“It will be very much customized to fit the needs of those individual businesses who are going to take advantage of this program.”

West said they have already heard from seven or eight restaurants and breweries that want to take the city up on its COVID-19 offer.

The city is also waving all the fees that are related to those types of permits, and has established a single point of contact for businesses to fast track the process, he said.

On Friday, the B.C. government announced it would fast track liquor licences for restaurants, pubs, wineries, breweries and distilleries so they can temporarily expand the size of licensed patios and other areas of their premises during B.C.’s reopening by applying online without the usual red tape.

“Having the rules changed to be allowed to have outdoor seating is great and that’s one thing, but being able to actually have the financial resources to make it a reality is a completely different thing,” said West.

Meanwhile, Vancouver is also expediting the process for patio applications starting June 1. The city is also looking at ways to temporarily repurpose streets and parking lanes for new public spaces to support additional seating, queuing and other creative business uses.

ticrawford@postmedia.com

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