News / Vancouver

Keep those patio lanterns lit: Vancouver mayor proposes later closing times (with poll)

There’s nothing like a hot summer night spent lingering on a patio – until, that is, No Funcouver’s patio bylaws kick in and force patrons inside by 11 p.m.

But patio stints could get longer as early as this summer for both dry establishments and those serving liquor.

Mayor Gregor Robertson will table a motion next week asking staff to develop a pilot program to extend patio hours “as soon as possible” in places where it makes sense and doesn’t impose on the neighbourhood.

“Historically, the issues have been around noise spilling out into the street later at night,” Robertson said in explanation of the current regime that shutters patios before midnight. “But I know there are places in the city where there aren’t complaints and there’s the option to go later that won’t impact local residents.”

Bustling areas such as Gastown, with its brick sidewalks and plazas, and Granville Street are conducive to patios with later hours, Robertson told reporters at a news conference celebrating the cedar patio installed at Robson Square until Labour Day.

Neighbourhoods outside the downtown core such as Main Street are also prime for late-night sitting, he said, pointing to a parkette at Main and 14th that has been used for coffee shop seating.

During the 2010 Winter Games, city council extended patio hours to 1 a.m. given the increased demand for restaurant seating from out-of-town revelers and locals alike. Not everyone was impressed – some complained that the noise infringed on their sleep.

Robertson isn’t the only one at city council with patios on the mind. Coun. George Affleck will introduce a separate motion next week calling for a more “user-friendly” Granville Street with spacious patios and sidewalk seating.

“This is a street with large sidewalks, yet very few residents actually enjoy using them,” Affleck said in a statement.

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