Mike Garnett and Marc Pinkoski enjoy a cold beverage on Oak Bay Avenue with Penny Farthing manager Nancy Stewart. The Penny Farthing and Vis-a-Vis are applying to set up a 55-seat patio area along the Oak Bay Avenue that would follow social distancing rules and last until Oct. 31. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Pub seeks 55-seat patio on Oak Bay Avenue

Oak Bay invites businesses to expand onto sidewalks, parking spots

A 55-seat patio could be coming to Oak Bay Avenue this summer in front of the Penny Farthing and Vis-a-Vis restaurant.

Oak Bay council voted to permit the re-prioritization of parking spots in the name of economic stimulus and safety. Council voted on Thursday that businesses can apply to temporarily expand their businesses onto sidewalks or take over parking spots.

Penny Farthing and Vis-a-Vis owner Matt McNeil is on the verge of submitting a proposal that he drew up in consultation with Oak Bay’s engineering department. If approved, Oak Bay will permit the Penny Farthing to use the 77-foot long area in front of the building (which includes tenants Rogers Chocolates and Walk In Comfort), about four or five parking spots, to install a series of tables, McNeil said.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay businesses cope as best they can during COVID-19 crisis

It’s the closest Oak Bay Avenue will come to having a Parisian style patio cafe, but with Plexiglas between each table and along the perimeter of the seating area.

“A host will be stationed at the opening which will be in front of the Vis-a-Vis entrance,” McNeil said. “The proposal will keep a two-metre [lane] on the sidewalk.”

Businesses are in need of a jolt and this should help, said Mayor Kevin Murdoch.

“[The] decision allows the District to provide additional support to local businesses and the wider community in Oak Bay during this time of COVID-19,” Murdoch said.

Oak Bay’s municipal hall continues to operate as an Emergency Operations Centre. After council approved the temporary use of sidewalks and parking stalls for businesses on Thursday, the EOC put out a call for local businesses to make proposals and work with staff to explore solutions regarding the use of public right-of-ways or parking stalls.

To date, several businesses have already reached out, said the release.

“Just like Government Street, this is a great little strip and I think this is exactly what is needed here,” McNeil said.

Under normal circumstances, the Penny Farthing and Vis-a-Vis have a combined seating capacity of 210. During the Phase 2 reopening restaurants are limited to 50 per cent. The temporary relaxations by the liquor board allow restaurants and pubs to make up some of the lost seating through expanded patios.

READ ALSO: City governments to get more power over patio approval in B.C’s COVID-19 reopening plan

“We know not everyone will agree with the parking stalls but it’s temporary, and it’s only four, maybe five spots with smaller cars, and there’s plenty of parking around here,” McNeil said. “I’ve talked to Oak Bay Avenue business owners and they’re in need of foot traffic.”

For parking, the Monterey Recreation Centre and library branch is one example of an empty parking lot in Oak Bay Village.

Penny Farthing and Vis-a-Vis mananger Nancy Stewart said the management team is grateful they’ve been able to rehire about 250 of the 300 staff they had going into COVID-19, at various properties that make up the Victoria Pub Company, including the Bard and Banker and Irish Times.

“I get emotional that people have lost their businesses and maybe their homes,” McNeil said.

The Penny Farthing officially reopened May 26 and sold about 65 per cent of a typical Tuesday despite being limited to half capacity. Sales have grown incrementally since then but are still lower than usual.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Saanich police encourage safe driving habits as rain leads to pooling on roadways

Slow down, inspect vehicle ahead of driving in wet autumn weather

Three years for serial bank robber who hit Sidney branch

Lucas Bradwell was wanted for robberies in Sidney, Abbotsford and Vancouver

Victoria police seek suspect in parkade break and enter

Cycling gear, tools reported stolen from vehicle, storage locker

Almost half of Canadian university students fear they cannot pay rising tuitions

COVID-19 also diminishing expectations for job market

B.C.’s top doctor thanks supporters after revealing threats over COVID-19 measures

Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID-19 has caused some people to lash out in anger and frustration out of fear

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C.-born Trybe social media app’s award system connects with Nickelback singer

Rock stars, jet planes, scooter tricks and the creation of a new platform ready for launch

Resumption of At-Sea Observer Prgrogram delayed

Emergency Electronic Monitoring Program still in place for groundfish trawl Option A vessels

B.C. VOTES 2020: Speculation tax misses speculators, B.C. Liberals say

Andrew Wilkinson, John Horgan clash over housing costs, solutions

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

NDP, Greens divided on pace of child care improvements in B.C. election campaign

NDP Leader John Horgan recommitted to $10-a-day child care and blamed the Greens for not supporting his efforts

Most Read