Bigger is better: patio season 2020

May 25, 2020

Council has approved using public space as patio space to help businesses enhance capacity, including a proposal to limit the majority of Bernard Avenue to pedestrians beginning June 30 until Sept 8.

“The City values Kelowna’s retail and commercial base and is committed to supporting local business so that our economy can thrive in these trying times,” said Mayor Basran. “Innovative solutions are necessary to help businesses maintain viability, encourage re-employment of staff and ensure consumers feel safe.”

While some businesses were closed due to health orders, to protect customers or employees or to help flatten the curve, others were closed due to reduced demand. The use of public space would allow businesses to expand customer capacity that will be limited by BC provincial health orders, WorkSafe BC requirements and physical distancing suggestions.

The Downtown Kelowna Association is supportive of the proposal to make Bernard Avenue pedestrian only from Abbott St. to St. Paul St. with patios extending over the parking areas on both sides and a centre walkway for physical distancing in addition to the sidewalks. Part of Abbott St. between Bernard Ave. and Lawrence Ave., as well as Mill St. to the laneway will also be limited to pedestrians only. While City operated parking was well utilized before COVID-19, reduced parking demand is expected to offset the loss of on-street parking stalls.

"Our Downtown is arguably the heart of Kelowna, a social and commercial hub that serves the City as a whole, and investments here have been shown to drive tourism, community engagement and civic pride,” said Basran. “But we are committed to supporting businesses across the City, not just downtown, by creatively leveraging municipal resources to meet the needs of our community.”

A multi-disciplinary task force, including Real Estate, Parks, Transportation and Parking is proposed to review and approve requests for the temporary use of public space in all areas of our community.

Approval for expansion of outdoor patio and retail space on private land has also been streamlined.

Visit kelowna.ca/business-services/permits-licences/sidewalk-cafés to learn more.