City of Powell River has no objection to a temporary patio expansion at Wildwood Public House, which would provide for 30 seats.
At the June 18 city council meeting, manager of planning services Jason Gow said the purpose of his report was for council to consider a response to the liquor and cannabis regulation branch (LCRB) for an application from Wildwood Public House for a temporary expanded service area for 30 outdoor patio seats.
“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the LCRB is putting in place a time-limited measure to support the provincial health officer’s order in relation to physical distancing; the order restricts the number of patrons that can enter a facility like the Wildwood Pub,” said Gow. “The pub holds a liquor primary licence and intends to apply to the LCRB to add an additional 30 seats to their existing patio. The LCRB has established this temporary authorization for liquor primary licences like the Wildwood Pub holds, but they still need to comply with municipal bylaws.”
Gow said the city’s delegation bylaw allows staff to sign off in certain situations as it relates to referrals from the LCRB, but in this case, because the number of seats in the patio exceeds 10, it needs to come to council for direction to staff to sign off, if council is in support.
According to Gow, the patio extension would be located in the front of the property, taking over four parking spots, and would be in keeping with LCRB regulations.
“As it is a temporary authorization, staff are in support, recognizing there is a small window for these businesses to take advantage of utilizing the outdoor space for their benefit,” said Gow. “I comment in my report that in application for a permanent situation, we would definitely have some questions about late night noise.”
Councillor George Doubt said the pub was just down the street from his residence. He said the pub is an item of discussion, particularly at the Wildwood Ratepayers Association, concerning parking, which is “not clearly marked.”
Doubt said it was confusing. He said he wanted to ask city staff when the city is actually going to take action in outlining where the parking limitations are there.
“People in the Wildwood ratepayers have been asking for this since September and nothing is happening,” said Doubt. “I want to know when something is going to happen.”
Chief administrative officer Russell Brewer said he has spoken to the director of infrastructure and it is hoped something will be done in the next six weeks. He said discussions have to be held with the ministry of transportation and infrastructure to make sure plans meet their requirements.
“I’m saying I’d like to see that happen as soon as possible,” said Doubt. “I’d like to see this be a happy situation where we can do something about controlling the parking and allowing the business to have that expanded patio area because I think it’s important for business survival.”
Doubt said he’s also heard complaints of noise at late hours.
“I don’t hear it myself; I’m only a short distance away, but other people are complaining about that,” said Doubt. “I’m urging the owners to be careful about noise outside at later hours.”
Councillor Jim Palm said he’s all for expanded seating at restaurants and similar businesses to help out during the pandemic. He said when the city sends matters to the LCRB, what’s on his mind is public consultation.
“Could you please explain what will happen to us and the public once we vote to send this forward?” asked Palm.
Gow said in his conversations with the LCRB, they are swamped with a number of businesses such as the Wildwood Pub because of the temporary authorization and the engagement with the local community will be limited, if at all.
Councillor CaroleAnn Leishman said she had gone by the site and checked out the proposed area outside and thinks it is a good location for an outdoor patio.
“In a time of COVID-19 and physical distancing and I’m very impressed with this proactive thinking, so I’m in favour of going ahead with it,” said Leishman.
Doubt said he wants the owners to know that when they come before council with a variance to make the patio permanent, he is going to be considering what happens with the parking and what people have to say about noise.
“You guys are responsible owners,” said Doubt, “and I’m sure you’ll do the best you can.”
Council passed a recommendation that the director of planning services be delegated the authority to provide written confirmation to the LCRB that City of Powell River has no objection to the proposed temporary expanded service area of 30 outdoor patio seats as presented by the Wildwood Pub in its application dated June 8.