Victoria city council is unanimously supporting changes to the city’s current sidewalk cafe bylaw in an effort to increase the vibrancy of city streets.
As part of the proposed bylaw amendments and once a sidewalk cafe licence is obtained, a business is able to place fixed seating in front of or in the surrounding area of a restaurant, which serves customers as an extension of the existing establishment.
Cafes must leave at least 1.5 metres of sidewalk space so as not to obstruct cyclists, pedestrians and others using the sidewalk. Businesses also have the option of installing heaters within the sidewalk cafe.
Other proposed changes include allowing the use of an adjacent parking stall and turning it into a parklet, similar to the one on Fort Street outside the Dutch Bakery that opened last year.
The fee structure has also been simplified so there are two different fees for restaurants in the downtown and restaurants outside of it to reflect the market value of those areas.
According to a report to council, based on the current number of licence holders, sidewalk cafes are expected generate an increase in revenue of roughly $25,000 to $45,000 per year.
The amendments will go to council for first, second and third reading before it is adopted.