BC Liberal MLA Todd Stone urges NDP not to axe temporary patios

THE BC Liberals said on Monday that if you’re hoping to bask in the sunshine and do some patio hopping this summer, you’ll likely have fewer places to do it as Premier John Horgan and the NDP are shutting down temporary patio permits, effective June 1.

“This makes absolutely no sense,” said Todd Stone, Opposition House Leader and Critic for Jobs, Economic Recovery, Trade and Innovation. “The restaurant and hospitality sector has taken many hits over the pandemic, but the expansion of street patios and outdoor dining was a lifeline to restaurants and bars that was also widely embraced by the public. Now, instead of making the patios permanent, the NDP wants to axe them right before the busy summer season. What is John Horgan thinking?”

More than 2,000 establishments were approved for patio space during the pandemic but these Temporary Expanded Service Area (TESA) authorizations, which were free and easy to apply for online, will expire on June 1. Now, restaurants will have to apply and pay a non-refundable $400 fee, submit floor plans, comply with local government bylaws and guidelines, and wait up to 10 months for their application to be approved, said the BC Liberals.

“In Vancouver, it’s going to cost up to $5,000 for businesses to go through a 34-page guide, hire a structural engineer, obtain architectural drawings and jump through a bunch of other hoops just to retain a patio setup as small as six square metres,” said Stone. “Only the NDP would force pandemic-weary businesses to endure more stress and find more money they simply don’t have, just to keep doing what they’ve been doing safely and smoothly through most of the pandemic. The NDP must apply some common sense here and make it easier for businesses to operate, not harder — and let everyone continue to enjoy patio season as planned.”

Stone noted that in the last election, the NDP promised to make this streamlined process permanent on page 46 of their platform.