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EDITORIAL – The pros of sidewalk patio extensions far outweigh the cons

(Image: CFJC Today)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THE LOGIC OF DOING AWAY with the extended sidewalk patios in front of restaurants and coffee shops escapes me.

Originally intended to soften the blow of COVID by giving the food establishments a few more tables, the patios have become a positive addition to lifestyle.

A survey shows merchants split on the idea of paying fees, and the next City council will have to decide what to do about it.

With provincial COVID funding dried up, the City is contemplating levying hefty permit charges on the eateries for the privilege of having the patios. The reason? Lost parking revenue.

But parking fees were never intended as a revenue stream. The avowed purpose is simply to make sure parking spots aren’t hogged for hours at a time to the detriment of other shoppers and the businesses.

And maintenance on the patios is minimal since they were installed with bricks and concrete barriers to replace the original lumber versions.

The merchants have to apply logic, too. Those who say they’re losing business because people can no longer park directly out front need to consider that their businesses are actually drawing more customers because people enjoy the patios.

As for anyone who complains about not being able to find a parking spot on main street, there’s ample parking just one block away on Seymour Street almost any time night or day. Walk a block; it will do you good.

I’ve also heard a few complaints from pedestrians having to negotiate the zig zag sidewalks created by the patios. Get serious.

The patios have created more friendly streets. We need more friendly on our streets. The patios should stay.

Sure, the sidewalks belong to the City, not the merchants, but if the City insists that it must charge a fee for patios, let it be something small without getting into market value appraisals and huge bureaucracies the way some cities have.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

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

About Mel Rothenburger (9224 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca 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 ArmchairMayor.ca 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.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – The pros of sidewalk patio extensions far outweigh the cons

  1. Robert George // October 1, 2022 at 10:24 AM // Reply

    Looks like Mr. Graham has never been to Paris,and the French,miserable folks that they can sometimes be,don’t suffer all the bums on the sidewalks that Kamloops does. Also their legal system is one perhaps we should consider adopting. If you are arrested for an illegal act you are tossed in the slammer and you have to prove you are innocent.

  2. The co-opted use of public pedestrian space by merchants is an offensive, pushy, and intolerable
    Invasion of public rights, and an arrogant, if temporary, attempt to forcefully expand their licensed domains. Sensible communities would insist that pedestrian areas be used for pedestrians.. it is one reason why I assiduously avoid downtown areas.

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