EDITORIAL – Taking restaurant patios to the curb could have benefits

(Image: CFJC Today)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

AT FIRST GLANCE, the plan to allow restaurants to extend their patio areas all the way to the curb sounds a bit Rube Goldberg but it could have some benefits that extend beyond COVID-19.

Reason for the temporary change in rules on sidewalk sitting is that it will allow the restaurants downtown and on the Tranquille corridor to more easily ensure social distancing guidelines are followed, and serve more customers.

Retail sales areas are included in the new sidewalk plan along with restaurants.

The idea is that the restaurants and stores could either use the entire width of the sidewalk and provide a walk-around in the adjacent parking stalls, or infringe into the parking stalls and leave room to walk past on the sidewalk.

Sounds like it could be chaotic but it just might work.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9116 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Taking restaurant patios to the curb could have benefits

  1. Bob Gamble // May 28, 2020 at 7:50 AM // Reply

    It isn’t possible to allow business to expand out onto the street and still maintain social distancing on the sidewalks. The only way it could work is with one-way sidewalks and good luck with that! That is, unless the street is closed to vehicles and turned over to pedestrians.

    It is doubtful simply pushing more tables out the door is going to make much of a difference. Victoria Street restaurants in particular have struggled for years to survive. The only two I can think of who are still open since our arrival in Kamloops are Peter’s Pasta and Dorian Greek House.

    There may be an opportunity in all of this to turn Victoria Street around. This Google entry gave a street closure in Singapore five stars:

    “Daily, at sharp 7:00pm the traffic policemen jump onto Boon Tat Street (at the Lau Pa Sat Hawker Center) in the middle of the business district, in order to close down the street. The last car has not yet passed the traffic light, when buzzing people push plastic tables and chairs onto the street. Cook shops are dragged onto the sidewalks and charcoal grills are inflamed. Only a few minutes later, you can enjoy Singapore’s best satay.”

    Some random thoughts:

    • Close Victoria Street from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
    • Turn the sidewalks over to the businesses
    • Streets become for walking
    • Allow steer vendors to setup
    • Provide entertainment along the street (Entertainers need jobs)
    • Parking lot next to library for play area/street vendors
    • Hotels provide getaway packages
    • Library restrooms open to the public (a must)
    • More buses at night

    No doubt there are others attractions but these are a few that come to mind.

    The City last year closed a part of 4th street, just off of Victoria for entertainment and socializing. Apparently it was successful to a point. The downside was the chairs and tables were left in place overnight and they became a magnet for troublemakers. At some point in the evening would need to shut things down, remove whatever is on the street and open Victoria street backup.

    From what I recall the new Downtown Plan envisioned Victoria Street becoming more than a just another street. We now have a chance to make it happen.

    Stay Safe

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