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Denied patio means Mount Pleasant restaurant will temporarily close, say owners
An image of a patio application posted to the Instagram account of Vancouver restaurant ¿CóMO? Taperia.
VANCOUVER -- The owners of a Mount Pleasant restaurant say they're devastated and will have to temporarily close after being denied a permit for a patio.
In an Instagram post published Saturday, the owners of ¿CóMO? Taperia said they applied for a patio under the City of Vancouver's Temporary Expedited Patio Program, a program intended to help restaurants recover from loss of business because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are in dire times, and expediting patio permits are essential for restaurants to survive," the restaurateurs wrote in their post.
"We applied and quickly received our liquor permit for our proposed patio from the Province of British Columbia. Last week, we received an email from the City of Vancouver stating an application was needed with them."
The owners initially believed the process would be quick and easy, and even bought patio furniture. But then they got word their application had been denied.
"We were told that 'it’s complicated,' 'we don’t have time to get into it,' and 'we may get to your file in a few days, or weeks,'" the owners wrote. "We don’t have weeks to wait for the city during these times."
In an emailed statement, city staff told CTV News Vancouver that ¿CóMO? Taperia's patio is on private property, bringing a different set of requirements.
"The first patio spaces we are enabling though this program are on public property, and we started with public spaces because we are able to issue patio permits in the least amount of time when it is on city land," staff wrote, adding that some of those applications — 14 so far — have been processed in just two days.
Restaurants were ordered to close their dine-in service during the worst of B.C.'s COVID-19 pandemic, but were allowed to open with reduced seating starting on May 19. Expanding patio space for restaurants is seen as key to increasing customer confidence and expanding the amount of seating available for restaurants.
Vancouver city council approved the Temporary Expedited Patio Program on June 1. On Thursday, the city reported they had received 46 applications and approved 14. Three of the 46 applications submitted so far have been for patios on private property, and the city said staff members are working with those applicants on "interim options."
City staff say they are now working on a solution for restaurants like ¿CóMO? Taperia, and hope to expand the program to permit temporary patios on private property. Staff also said they will be submitting more recommendations for city council to consider.
But for the Mount Pleasant restaurant, it's one more frustration after two years of trying to get a patio approved for their restaurant at 201 E. 7th Ave.
"We have decided that we will have to temporarily close our doors again after tomorrow’s service," they wrote.
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Ian Holliday.