Snow seems to be one of the biggest obstacles keeping restaurant patios in Salmon Arm from operating throughout the winter, but not necessarily the temperature.
City council discussed patios at its Oct. 12 meeting in response to a Sept. 23 letter from Michael (Hai) Vu, co-owner of the Hanoi 36 restaurant on Hudson.
Vu wrote that he was intending to apply to the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch to make the patio licence permanent. He said he was advised by city staff to write a letter to council.
Kevin Pearson, the city’s director of development services, said there have been a lot of regulatory changes in the past two years, mainly because of COVID-19. Last time council had to consider a liquor licence for Hanoi 36 was for the patio, which extends into the street or boulevard.
“Council supported it on a temporary basis to align with our temporary patio policy,” Pearson said, explaining that patios were permitted early this year because of the early spring and must come down by the end of the month.
He said all the patios on the boulevard have to be removed, like they were last fall.
Rob Niewenhuizen, director of engineering and public works, said staff don’t support having year-round patios. He said snow storage areas are needed in the downtown and it becomes very difficult to clean out the snow along downtown streets if the patios are in place. He added that patios could be damaged by the large snow removal equipment and the city would not want to take on that liability.
Coun. Kevin Flynn expressed concern about the viability of restaurants.
“I have concerns about the fact that patios have saved a number of restaurants, and I have concerns that we’re still in a very unusual time. I would like to see us doing anything we can to help restaurants survive, even if it means people sitting outside in a snowstorm, I guess. But I’m not sure of the practicality and don’t want to make a motion right now. But I think we need to think about it…”
Mayor Alan Harrison pointed out that the patio at Hanoi 36 had already been taken down.
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