Patios bring sidewalks to life
Aug 29, 2013 / 6:58 am
The City of Kelowna's new outdoor patio program has been a rousing success.
That according to city property manager Ron Forbes.
Following phases one and two of the revitalization of Bernard Avenue the city encouraged restaurants, coffee shops and bars to expand their businesses out onto the sidewalk.
And expand they have.
As far as numbers are concerned, Forbes says the proliferation of outdoor patios along Bernard Avenue have met expectations.
"We knew that if people started putting patios out they would see what sort of a great amenity it would be for their business," says Forbes.
"We anticipated there would be quite a few. Actually, we are looking forward to next year when we can expect maybe another half dozen patios out there."
Those additional patios would be along the stretch of Bernard between Pandosy and St. Paul streets which will undergo renovation as part of phase three beginning after Labour Day.
Back in the spring council endorsed a new rate structure for outdoor patios along Bernard Avenue.
It was determined businesses could set up patios free of charge for the first two years following completion of construction in their area.
Year three would be billed at half price with year four and beyond going to the full rate.
Rates are determined by square footage and location. Those closest to the lake will pay a higher fee than those closer to Richter Street.
Not only is Forbes pleased with the number of outdoor patios that have sprung up but also with the imagination used by several businesses in creating their patios.
"What is really good is they are not all cookie-cutter. They are not all exactly the same," says Forbes.
"There is some variety to them and business owners have used their imagination to create patios that are unique to their business."
Forbes singled out a number of businesses for their ingenuity.
"Doc Willoughby's is a good example where they've got an old fence that was in the Willoughby family that they retro-fitted to be part of their patio," says Forbes.
"Look at Sliders where they have a really nice wooden theme on their patio. Memphis Blues has a custom built higher cement table top patio facing the sidewalk that provides customers a different experience."
Forbes says the variety of designs has made both the patio and pedestrian experience along Bernard quite unique.
They also make the sidewalks, which some have complained are too wide, appear narrower and more inviting.
"The addition of the patios has made it a fun area to walk down to see what is going on. It provides a bit of entertainment as you are walking down there and seeing the type of menu items the different restaurants have to offer."
While the summer season is winding down and many patios will roll back inside in the coming weeks, Forbes believes next summer, once all the construction is complete, will provide locals and tourists a spectacular summer experience.
Forbes says in the summer of 2014 the Bernard Avenue Revitalization project will be complete, the new pier and marina will be finished as will the new Kelowna Yacht Club.
Add to those the extension of Stuart Park, the possible construction of a new boutique hotel on the former Willow Inn site and the addition of two new parkades in the coming years.
"We are quite thrilled with the way it has turned out. Our vision was to see a lot more activity on the street and I think there is even a lot more coming," says Forbes.
"We are looking forward to that."
Read more Bernard Ave. Revitalization articles
Time Lapse Video: City of Kelowna
- New gateway points to downtown Nov 26
- Bernard Ave. reopening a month early Nov 7
- 7 month delay in Bernard completion Sep 3
- Bernard Avenue closed for streetscaping Aug 31
- Patios bring sidewalks to life Aug 29
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