The City of Whitehorse is considering waiving fees for the bagged parking meter fees associated with its pop-up patio Program.
The patio program, developed last year, allows restaurants in the downtown core to expand their capacity outdoors. It was designed, in part, to offset COVID-19 restrictions.
The bagged parking meter fees were implemented to account for lost revenue since patios occupy would-be parking stalls.
According to the agenda from Monday’s deliberations, the City estimates that a parking area pop-up patio design will displace three parking stalls, “resulting in a potential monthly revenue loss to the City of $1,539 per pop-up patio – $513 per stall occupied.”
Pop-up patios also require development permit fees, currently set at $400 per permit. If there’s a physically constructed structure, there’s an additional special inspection fee of $75.
However, after consulting eight downtown restaurants, the City found the temporary bagged parking fees and charges to participate in the program presented a financial barrier for many businesses.
In fact, no parking area pop-up patios were established in the 2021 season.
Now, the City is considering eliminating that fee for the 2022 season.
The proposed amendment will not reduce the permit and inspection fees and only accounts for the bagged meter fee.
Coun.Ted Laking was the only one to comment at Monday night’s council meeting. He said the patio pop-ups are a great opportunity for local businesses.
“This is something we discussed earlier and I think it will be quite beneficial to bars and restaurants that want to participate in this program so thank you to all the officials that put in the extra effort to get this [amendment],” he said.
City council will make the final decision at its next meeting on Monday, March 28.
If council approves the eliminated fee for this year, it will still be reassessed for the 2023 season.
Mobile Food Vendors
Council is also considering adjusting overnight parking permits for mobile food vendors in the downtown area.
Under the current mobile food vendor program, there are only three locations designated for food truck to sell. At two of these locations, the vendors are allowed to leave their vehicles overnight, but at the city parkade site at Third Avenue and Steele Street it’s prohibited and imposes a disadvantage to vendors at that location.
The new amendment will help balance the City’s ability to manage competing vendors and ensure that rights-of-way and parkades are used for their intended purposes.
The proposed amendments will not change the permitted hours of operation for food vendors, which are required to cease operating by 11:00 p.m. each night.