“I’d like to thank city council for trusting me in the winter patio project.” – Nick Diamond, manager of Main Street Diner in front of his sidewalk cafe that will be staying in place all winter: Photo: Bill Metcalfe

“I’d like to thank city council for trusting me in the winter patio project.” – Nick Diamond, manager of Main Street Diner in front of his sidewalk cafe that will be staying in place all winter: Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson council allows four winter sidewalk cafes

The decision is a response to struggles by restaurants during the pandemic

At its Nov. 9 meeting, Nelson city council gave four restaurants permission to run outdoor patios through the winter in response to the pandemic.

The city had reached out to all patio owners in the city in preparation for this discussion, asking if they wished to apply for winter status, and got four expressions of interest.

The requests by Backroads Brewing, Pitchfork and Rel-ish were approved because they do not take up any parking spaces and won’t hamper snow removal.

The application by Main Street Diner was discussed at some length because the patio is on the street, takes up parking spaces and would potentially cause problems for snow removal crews.

However, the barriers at the Main Street Diner are made of concrete blocks, which the restaurant usually removes in the off-season. Council concluded that snow removal crews could easily clear around the barrier because it is so solid, unlike some summer on-street patios that are wooden structures.

Councillor Brittny Anderson proposed that Main Street Diner’s application be approved as a pilot for “a business that has been around for a really long time” and Councillor Cal Renwick supported her.

“I would just like to see us work with them and do what we can to to help them out in this situation,” Renwick said.

Council then voted in favour of Main Street Diner’s application.

Leading up to the decision, city staff had identified these winter patio issues and requirements:

• Roof structures must be designed to manage snow loads.

• Sidewalk cafes must not be enclosed, because then they become buildings and are subject to the building code.

• Heat sources must be properly vented.

• Gas lines running over public property for heaters would need separate approvals.

• Additional work will be required to remove snow.

• Gas or propane heaters, because they are in effect heating the outdoors, emit a significant amount of CO2. According to city council meeting materials referencing a CBC article, experts have estimated that “a 75 m2 terrace, heated with gas November to March, emits as much CO2 as a car circling the earth three times.”

Councillor Keith Page suggested that sidewalk cafes be given a preferred rate on fees if they use electric rather than gas heating.

Councillor Rik Logtenberg supported Page’s concern.

“This is not an idle consideration,” Logtenberg said. “The amount of emissions that come from this is really significant, surprising.”

City manager Kevin Cormack said the process of changing the amounts of fees is procedurally complicated but this could be a long-term goal, and Mayor John Dooley agreed.

“With COVID and everything else,” Dooley said, “some people have invested in the infrastructure, and it would be unreasonable at this point in time to force them into it. We could have it phased in.”

Earlier in the year the city waived patio fees for 2020 as part of its pandemic recovery plan, and that waiver will continue until the new year when council will revisit it.

Nick Diamond, manager of Main Street Diner, in an interview after the meeting, told the Nelson Star he was grateful for council’s decision.

“I think people will be looking for something to do this winter after they finish skiing and I’m glad to offer them the opportunity to eat in the open air 12 months a year,” he said. “I proposed this to the public in our social media channels and there was a tremendous amount of support in favour of this.”

Related: Nelson expands sidewalk cafe space limits during pandemic


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

Jessica Ogden, who calls herself a water protector, not a protester, has lost an internal police complaint following several interactions with the RCMP and the legal system in 2019. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Kootenay logging blockader loses police complaint, files counterclaim against company

Court actions and police complaints stem from blockades in the Balfour and Argenta areas in 2019

Nelson Amnesty is holding its annual Write for Rights campaign Dec. 12 at the Nelson Public Library. Photo: Submitted
Amnesty International Write for Rights relevant during the pandemic

Nelson Amnesty will host the annual event Dec. 12 at the Nelson Public Library

RNG plant
Construction on ground-breaking RNG plant in Fruitvale set to go in spring 2021

REN Energy partners with Calgary engineering firm for innovative West Kootenay gas plant

Katrine Conroy’s swearing in ceremony. Photo: Kootenay West Katrine Conroy Facebook
Forestry Minister West Kootenay MLA Katrine Conroy talks about her new role

Conroy will also oversee Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Power Corporation and Columbia Basin Treaty

Seven Deers carved Shinning Raven Woman out of Labradorite harvested from the Canadian Shield. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Sculpture by Indigenous artist to be erected in Grand Forks

Civic leaders have rallied behind the project by Grand Forks’ David Seven Deers

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Most Read