Temporary patio dining may not be coming to many businesses in Surrey.
Scott Wheatley, executive director for the Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce, said the recommended costs to get patio permits are sky high. Wheatley told the Cloverdale Reporter he’s worried most businesses won’t be able to afford the exorbitant prices.
“The Chamber is asking the City to reconsider costs associated with the sidewalk patio program to fall in line with other municipalities,” Wheatley said.
The temporary patio sidewalk program is meant to help business recover from the COVID-19 crisis by offering them an opportunity to provide more seating at socially-distant spacing than they could otherwise.
After reading the City of Surrey’s corporate report on the proposed patio program, Wheatley wants mayor and council to slash the recommended fees.
“One of the major disparities is the cost to apply for and implement this program,” he said. “All other cities we checked offer similar programs, but have no fees associated with the application and implementation in the creation of temporary patios.”
In Surrey the patio application would cost $200 with up to a $1,000 deposit. (See comparison chart below.) Then the City may tack on additional fees that could raise the cost to businesses by thousands of dollars.
Some of those additional fees could include: barriers (possible cost of up to $1,400 per parking stall), charges for traffic control (possible cost of up to $500 per business), parking stalls fees (possible replacement cost for lost revenue on paid parking stalls).
“Most of the other cities are free,” said Wheatley. “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.”
Wheatley said he just wants bars and restaurants to have a level playing field with adjacent municipalities.
“Instead of discouraging businesses, we want the City to encourage them,” he said. “We’re in a pandemic here. We want people to have a safe space to enjoy lunch or dinner, enjoy the weather, and feel somewhat normal again.”
Information on the “Parking to Patio Program” can be found by visiting the City’s website at surrey.ca.