MEDIA RELEASE: Port Coquitlam Formalizes Outdoor Spaces Program
PORT COQUITLAM, BC – Sept. 15, 2021… The temporary outdoor spaces program that has helped Port Coquitlam businesses survive the pandemic will soon be permanent.
Last night, Port Coquitlam City Council directed staff to formalize the temporary outdoor spaces initiative the City launched in May 2020, and later extended to October 2021, that allows businesses to use public rights-of-way such as streets, sidewalks, lanes and parking lots for commercial activities such as patios and product displays.
“Port Coquitlam has been a leader in this outdoor space initiative, which has been a lifeline for businesses during a very challenging time,” Mayor Brad West said. “We’re the first in Metro Vancouver to publicly make this program permanent, and we’re planning for a seamless transition. We want to work with our Port Coquitlam businesses to help them not only survive, but thrive. Our door is open and we invite more businesses to apply.”
About 10 businesses around Port Coquitlam – primarily food and beverage establishments – have already taken advantage of the loosened restrictions to use public rights-of-way to serve customers. Additionally, a number of other businesses have expanded or created patios on private lands.
With Council’s direction last night, City staff will now begin to work with these businesses to refine their use of public or outdoor space in a way that will support their activities while ensuring the required pedestrian, parking or other public uses.
Other Port Coquitlam businesses will also be encouraged to contact the City to discuss opportunities for new or expanded patios.
For all businesses making use of this new program, the typical fees for encroaching on public lands will be waived until 2023. Any encroachment agreements made prior to the pandemic will remain in effect.
“We’re pleased with the success of this program, and believe it will continue to benefit our restaurant and entertainment industry and add vitality to our commercial areas,” West added. “I know our residents and visitors have loved having more outdoor patios around Port Coquitlam. We look forward to seeing more in the future.”
The streamlined application process introduced when the program was launched will continue. The City is also advising the Liquor Control and Regulation Branch of this change, which will allow businesses to continue operating uninterrupted.
City staff continue to work with businesses to provide advice about how they can meet the regulatory and insurance requirements. Interested businesses should contact the City’s Property Use Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-927-5266.
The changes are among a number of measures Port Coquitlam has taken to support local businesses and assist with the community’s recovery. For information about City services for businesses, visit the online information hub at portcoquitlam.ca/bizhub.
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Manager of Communications & Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam