Muni approves expansion of outdoor seating to accommodate physical distancing

 | June 25, 2020
SPMRM is supporting food and beverage businesses who wish to expand their seating to safely accommodate more guests. Photo SPIN

Patio spaces may spill out onto the village stroll this summer in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCBR) is accepting applications from bars and restaurants to expand their service area in order to space guests in accordance with physical distancing guidelines. The temporary permits allow the expanded service areas until October 31 but do not allow an increase in capacity or occupant load. 

During a June 16 meeting Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM) council discussed providing a blanket approval to the LCBR which would speed up the process for applicants. 

Some concerns were raised by Mayor Al Raine in regards to restaurants expanding onto areas that aren’t contiguous with their existing location. He also said he had heard from community members who were concerned about the installation of sea cans or sheds in the expanded areas. 

“It seems to me that’s not keeping with the spirit of the design guidelines and the charming mountain village that we’re trying to do,” Raine said. 

In response council decided to speak with Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR),  who, Raine said, are rumoured to have plans to add seating and a sea can to a flat area at the bottom of the Sunburst chairlift. They also confirmed any sea can or similar structure would require a building permit to erect. 

“The last thing we want is these things, even if it’s a good looking shed, popping up in our village core or somewhere,” said chief administrative officer Rob Bremner. “To me it’s about I don’t know if that’s something we would want.”

Councillor Ines Popig agreed and expressed concern about emergency access should tables and chairs be added in the village stroll past the covered walkway areas. 

Council agreed the areas need to be temporary in nature and easily removable in the event of an emergency or if SPR vehicles need access to the village. 

As SPR owns the village stroll, they must also grant permission to expand and applicants must meet a variety of requirements such as proof of insurance for the new area, showing the seating is easily removable and providing an outline of the proposed area. 

Council ultimately voted to allow SPMRM staff to approve applications which are contiguous with the existing establishment. Should a business wish to expand into an area which isn’t contiguous the application will come before council. 

“We do want to encourage the restaurants and bars to feel comfortable expanding into the village stroll and encourage Sun Peaks Resort to approve that on a temporary basis.”