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'It's been a game changer': Victoria restaurant hoping to save outdoor patio from bylaw

The City Of Victoria has told the management of the 5th Street Bar and Grill that its patio will have to go. (CTVNews) The City Of Victoria has told the management of the 5th Street Bar and Grill that its patio will have to go. (CTVNews)

Outdoor patios on city-owned property quickly became a lifeline for many Victoria restaurants throughout the pandemic. They continue to be popular with customers but two don’t currently comply with city bylaws and those restaurants have been told the patios will have to go.

“It honestly has changed our summers completely,” said Heather Radloff, a manager at 5th Street Bar and Grill in Victoria. The outdoor patio space flipped the business upside down in a good way.

“We were very busy in the winter but now we’re just consistent all the way through the year,” said Radloff.

Now as summer approaches, the City Of Victoria has told the establishment the patio will have to go.

“It’s us and the Beagle,” said Radloff. “We’re both on boulevards and so that doesn’t fall under the parks bylaw that they just amended and so they’re saying that we have to get everything off of here by May 31.”

Other pop-up patios around Victoria are taking up parking spots, eating into sidewalks and in the Broad Street example, an entire block has been closed to vehicle traffic by the city.

They all get to stay.

“We feel very lucky,” said Mike Colwill, owner or the Fernwood Inn. Its patio space can stay as it’s on the street.

With the city giving them the green light, construction is about to begin on an improved space, one that complies with new city bylaws.

“It’s been really good for the community,” said Colwill. “Bringing people out, sitting on the streets, getting to say hi to neighbours.”

Colwill says the patio got the Fernwood Inn through the challenges of COVID-19 and that customers want it to stay.

5th Street Bar and Grill says it wants to work with the city to find a way to keep the patio.

CTV News spoke with several city councillors who said they are working to find a solution.

5th Street Bar and Grill has launched a petition to keep the patio.

“We were at 1,500 [signatures] on Friday and today I looked and we’re at 3,016,” said Radloff.

Radloff hopes the online petition will garner more city attention so a solution can be found.

“It’s been a game changer,” said Radloff. Top Stories

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