Vancouver City Council approves new summer patio program

VANCOUVER City Council has approved a new summer patio program which will launch next spring. The new ongoing program is an evolution of the Temporary Expedited Patio program (TEPP), which this summer issued nearly 700 permits, helping bars and restaurants safely welcome customers through the pandemic while maintaining physical distancing.

“The temporary expedited patio program introduced at the height of COVID-19 not only supported small businesses and kept people safe, it created a new and vibrant summer patio culture across our city. Today, we’re building on that success with a new annual summer patio program and ensuring residents and visitors can look forward to this new summer tradition for years to come,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

The new program will be for both private and public property and will run from April 1 to October 31 each year. It will allow for increased occupancy for restaurants during the summer and continued use of curbside patios on City streets. Breweries and distilleries will also be eligible to apply for outdoor patio space under the new program.

A central application website with easy to understand application materials that guides applicants through the process will continue to be used. It is expected that application reviews by the City will be completed within weeks.

As always, a case-by-case application review will be needed and the City may no longer be able to support some of the existing temporary patios. For example, limited food establishments without public washrooms may be restricted from summer patios given their occupant capacity or patios on some arterial streets may not be viable as traffic volumes resume.

For a permit application to be approved, businesses must follow and meet all requirements outlined within the application and adhere to the patio layout drawings provided by the City. The requirements and layout drawings will be available on in the coming weeks.

As part of its approval on Wednesday, Council also directed staff to report back with strengthened policy guidelines to balance demands of public space and to ensure and enforce accessibility, including but not limited to considerations from the public/civic agency groups identified in the 2022 patio engagement work plan.