City amends patio policy

On March 13, council approved changes to the city’s bylaws that will make it easier for businesses to acquire patios.

On March 13, council approved changes to the city’s bylaws that will make it easier for businesses to acquire patios.

Previously, patios were handed out on a first come first served basis. If a block face reached the maximum length of patio as mandated in the Historic Downtown Patio Policy, businesses late to the party would not be allowed to build a sidewalk patio.

Amendments to the policy eliminate the first come, first served system and give the City of Fernie the authority to divide curb space equally between businesses.

According to the policy, the total amount of a single block face that can be occupied by patios is 28 metres of curb space for an avenue or 14 metres of curb space in the case of a street.

Manager of Planning Patrick Sorfleet said that no street in Fernie has yet to reach its patio space limit but that the new policy makes things more equitable and clear for business owners.

“It’s a fairness thing,” he said.

The amendments come after city staff contacted previous patio owners to ask them if there were any changes to the policy that they would like to propose. The Historic Downtown Patio Policy first came into effect in 2014 and granted patio licences for three years.