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Public input needed to craft Oak Bay business use of public spaces

Survey on now through Jan. 25 in person or online
Oak Bay wants to hear from residents as it develops policy to allow food and beverage businesses to use of public space such as the Penny Farthing street side patio created during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

With a plan to have a policy in place for street-side patios prior to the provincial spring deadline, Oak Bay launched a survey for residents this month.

The sidewalk patio expansion program survey will help staff and council develop a permitting system and guidelines for food and beverage businesses to use public spaces such sidewalks and parking spaces.

Public feedback will help shape a new permitting process and design standards, with a focus on accessibility and safety.

RELATED: Oak Bay eateries sharing communal patio space in Estevan Village

Pop-up street and sidewalk patios emerged early in the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses took advantage of a provincial plan that allowed businesses to follow a temporary permitting process to expand operational footprints and offer food and liquor services on public property.

Businesses on the Avenue and in Estevan Village invested in patio infrastructure filling roadside parking spaces and some sidewalk areas with restaurant seating.

The allowances were extended several times by both the province and Oak Bay. The province’s temporary expanded service areas program was last extended to March 31 for businesses with existing authorizations.

RELATED: Oak Bay News readers respond to on-street patio dining

The sidewalk patio expansion program survey closes Jan. 25 and can be completed online at or in person at Henderson, Monterey and Oak Bay recreation centres as well as municipal hall.

The public survey will be followed by stakeholder consultation and a community forum. Staff and council hope to have a draft staff report and recommendations to council by March in hopes of a spring program implementation.

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