There will be fewer outdoor options for those dining out in Sidney.
Sidney council has rescinded a temporary bylaw passed in the summer of 2020 that has allowed local restaurants and cafes to convert up to 50 per cent of their required parking spaces to outdoor seating (assuming no reduction in the existing number of designated accessible parking spaces).
Council made that decision after receiving a staff report. “Staff are of the opinion that the amendment should be rescinded at this time due to the provincial protocols in place,” said Alison Verhagen, senior manager of current planning. As the report notes, Sidney introduced the temporary measure during the COVID-19 pandemic, while physical distancing protocols and limits on indoor dining affected indoor seating capacity in those businesses.
“While the pandemic is still ongoing, the province now allows indoor dining and requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all indoor and outdoor dining patrons at a restaurant or pub,” it reads. “(Therefore), restaurants are less restricted in their operations, and may no longer require this allocation of parking spaces to supplement their operations.”
Council first adopted the temporary bylaw in June 2020 subject to consideration of rescinding it no later than six months. It was back before council in October 2020 with council renewing it subject to consideration of rescinding the bylaw in October 2021.
Verhagen said staff reached out to the two restaurants making use of the bylaw last week. “One of them has actually removed their outdoor patio,” she said, adding that the other one has not responded to the municipality after receiving the information.
Council’s vote in favour of rescinding the temporary bylaw was unanimous.
Businesses interested in continuing to offer outdoor seating can apply for a permit through the municipality.
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