Council looks to allow outdoor cafes in downtown Quesnel

Last week, council also adopted a bylaw to allow cannabis retail sales in certain areas

Quesnel council is paving the way for downtown businesses to include outdoor cafés.

Providing a report from the City of Quesnel’s Policy and Bylaw Committee during the Feb. 19 council meeting, Coun. Scott Elliott explained council is looking at enabling outdoor cafés on Reid Street, Barlow Avenue and St. Laurent Avenue.

“This is all just part and parcel with the redevelopment of Reid Street and just trying to open up the downtown, so instead of just having the cafés available on Reid, we wanted to extend it as much as possible,” he said. “What we’re trying to do with the cafés is make it as easy as we can too, especially in this first year after Reid Street has been redeveloped.”

Seating areas may be permitted for all businesses, not just restaurants and cafés, and City staff will have to work with businesses who want the cafe spaces to ensure they have $2 million liability insurance, explained Elliott.

Elliott says all these spaces will be constructed with 1.5 metres enabled for pedestrians to walk through and will be fully accessible, which seems to be the standard throughout the province.

The committee agreed a small café will be a non-constructed café consisting of no more than two tables designed for no more than two seats, where the tables must be directly adjacent to the associated business, and the chairs must be aligned parallel to the associated business frontage, as to not protrude into City right of way. A large café will be any café with more than two tables.

Application fees will be $25 for a small café and $100 for a large café, and building permits will only be required for large café when it is initially constructed. A building permit will not be required for an outdoor café that has been previously approved, except if there is a physical change to the café.

“We want to make this as easy as possible for people who want to bring customers and clients to their storefronts and show off Reid Street,” reiterated Elliott.

Encroachment agreements will be required by every café sited within City right of way.

Tanya Turner, the City’s director of development services, says they will let businesses bring designs to them, but they will be required to maintain an accessible walkway.

***

Barkerville Brewing Co. will be able to use its patio year-round.

Quesnel council voted to allow year-round patio use, and to change the parking conditions on the site, Feb. 19.

A patio in the City right of way was permitted subject to the encroachment agreement and seasonal use of the patio, but it is now understood that the business intends to use the patio area for events throughout the year, explained Tanya Turner, the City’s director of development services.

***

At this meeting, council also adopted the zoning bylaw amendment to allow retail cannabis sales and cannabis production in certain parts of the City.

Retail cannabis sales use will be permitted in downtown Quesnel, West Quesnel, along Highway 97 in commercial zones, and in property zoned for shopping centres. The bylaw also allows cannabis production in Quesnel’s light industrial zone, which is near the airport.

Retail cannabis sales facilities will not be permitted within 100 metres of a secondary school or junior school, playground or play field and will not be permitted within 50 metres of residentially-zoned property.

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