The Surrey Economic Recovery Task Force has added its voice to opposition to fees associated with the City of Surrey’s new ‘Parking to Patio’ program.
In a news release issued June 12, the organization, which represents more than 9,500 businesses in Surrey and White Rock, is asking city council to reconsider costs associated with the Parking to Patio Program, which was set up to support local businesses that are facing dire economic circumstances due to COVID-19.
The organization is the latest to join a call for change.
Last week, the executive director of the Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce, Scott Wheatley, said the recommended costs to get the patio permits are sky high, and he’s worried most businesses won’t be able to afford the transition.
“The Chamber is asking the City to reconsider costs associated with the sidewalk program to fall in line with other municipalities,” Wheatley told Black Press Media. “Port Coquitlam will even build (a deck) for you. There are so many fees proposed for Surrey businesses that businesses in other municipalities don’t have to pay.”
The temporary Parking to Patio Program is meant to assist businesses in recovering from the economical impacts of COVID-19 by offering an opportunity to provide more seating with socially-distant spacing.
While similar parking-to-patio programs are free for businesses in Vancouver, Coquitlam and Richmond, Surrey business-owners are asked to pay a $500 deposit, $200 application fee if approved and up to $500 for safety measures. Shops are also asked to pay $1,400 for one jersey barrier the size of a parking stall, which is to be split evenly with the city.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented every region with its own set of unique challenges and circumstances, and many Surrey businesses are struggling to keep their heads above water,” said Surrey Economic Recovery Task Force spokesperson Laura Ballance.
“Finding ways to ensure that these businesses are able to survive the fallout from the pandemic is paramount. This begins with giving local businesses owners the chance to adapt and change the current climate without having to worry about additional costs, particularly when they’re already dealing with huge revenue losses.”
Costs waived by the city include a traffic obstruction permit fee and the city road and right-of-way use permit and associated fees.
At a council meeting last month, Coun. Jack Hundial asked if it’s possible to waive all fees. Staff replied that $200 is a “nominal fee” and a lot of the fees are picked up 50 per cent by the city.
Information on the “Parking to Patio Program” can be found on the city’s website, at surrey.ca