Bernard Avenue is now pedestrian-only until the Labour Day weekend to promote physical distancing. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

Kelowna patio expansion ‘unrealistic’ for non-restaurant owners: retailer

The owner of Funktional and Frock & Fellow said the expansion only benefits restaurants

Bernard Avenue is now open to pedestrians only until the Labour Day weekend to allow businesses to expand their patio areas into the parking areas along the street.

The patio expansion is to help promote physical distancing as people go out and about.

Twenty-two businesses signed on for the project, with several eateries and cafés setting up their expanded patios as soon as the barricades went up on June 29.

But a Bernard Avenue shop owner said the closure doesn’t benefit every business along the city’s main drag.

Chantal Couture owns Funktional, a jewelry and home goods store, and Frock & Fellow, a consignment shop. She said the patio expansion initiative was primarily aimed at restaurants in the area.

“I think it was primarily to increase capacity for restaurants and then offered to us merchants to also increase our capacity but the truth is, it’s not realistic,” she said.

“I can’t put clothes on the street and then still have people come and use the fitting rooms so my capacity isn’t actually being broadened.”

Couture added setting up valuable and fragile items out on the street also adds work on her already limited staff. She said the street’s closure to vehicles also poses some difficulties when she restocks both her stores.

“Big transport trucks coming don’t have easy access to the back alley. I used to get my vendors onto Bernard to supply us, now we’re trying to make alternate arrangements. Only time will tell how effective that’s going to be and I’m optimistic and I certainly hope it doesn’t dampen our potential revenue for the summer,” Couture said.

She added that she would’ve appreciated some collaboration regarding the street’s closure.

“In 2013, Bernard was closed for 22 months for construction and all of us were included in how we’re going to move through this. We got to have a vote and a say.”

The City of Kelowna’s property management manager JoAnne Adamson said when staff were looking at an economic recovery program for the businesses in the area, they consulted with the Downtown Kelowna Association’s board of directors.

“They’re our conduit to the business community. So it wasn’t a one-on-one consultation with specific businesses, but more through the association itself. The initiative had to go fairly fast in terms of coming up with a program, so staff felt that was the appropriate means of business consultation,” she said.

Adamson added that the expanded space for pedestrians will benefit all the businesses in the area, including stores like Couture’s.

“Our goal is to increase the pedestrian usage and therefore have more eyes and people on the street feeling comfortable to stroll up and down and to visit the businesses and to be able to experience the heart of downtown in a socially distanced and compliant manner.”

READ: Kelowna’s Bernard Avenue closed to vehicles starting June 29

READ: Interior Health suing former Shuswap hospital employee, pharmacist for alleged drug sales scheme


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Man accused in Salmon Arm 7-Eleven fire sentenced for bail breach

Sentencing for arson to take place later this month in BC Supreme Court

COVID-19: Salmon Arm city hall, law courts open gradually as restrictions ease

City staff to remain behind glass, court registry expected to open doors July 13

Speedboat driver sentenced in fatal Shuswap houseboat collision granted day parole

Leon Reinbrecht began serving a three-year sentence in a federal prison in January 2019

New charging station part of South Shuswap Transportation Society roadmap

Director’s Notes by CSRD Electoral Area E Director Paul Demenok

84-year-old Okanagan resident finishes 12,000-piece puzzle

Willie Tribiger started the puzzle in 2013, completing it in six and a half years

Aces aplenty at Okanagan golf course

Vernon Golf and Country Club has 14 recorded holes-in-one since April 30

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

Booze on beach extended through summer in Penticton

Pilot project will stay in place until Oct. 15

Sad ending in case of missing Okanagan senior

Body of Vernon man Wayne Orser found floating in Okanagan Lake Tuesday, July 7

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Most Read