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White Rock restaurant owner unsure about Marine Drive patio cost, timeline

Last Updated Jun 15, 2021 at 11:13 am PDT

An extended patio along Marine Drive in White Rock. (Tim James, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Some Marine Drive restaurants have yet to set up extended patio spaces; timeline uncertainties cited as concerns

One White Rock restaurant owner says adding patio spaces would require hiring additional staff

Business owner in White Rock says extending patio program on Marine Drive would be more feasible for many restaurants

WHITE ROCK (NEWS 1130) – Not all restaurants are rushing to set up a patio along Marine Drive in White Rock, without knowing how long the program could last.

Many spaces remain empty, despite the City saying it’s okay for local eateries to expand onto the street.

Alebrijes Kitchen + Bar owner Diana Castillo says she’s open to the idea, however, additional tables would require more staff — something she can’t afford to put more money into without assurances the patio program will last more than a month.

“Adding like four or five extra tables would definitely put a lot of pressure and it would slow down the overall service of the restaurant,” she said.

“If we have it until September, then it is worth it to invest. We have read and we have heard that this whole closing the lane might end soon, like in July. We’re not sure whether they meant the beginning of July, mid-July, or the end of July, but either way that seems kind of soon. Initially they said it would end in September … Ideally that’s what we would want to do.”

She says she’s heard some restaurants on the street have put in thousands of dollars to extend their patios.

White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker says the current directive is to reopen Marine Drive when indoor dining is back to normal. That could come as early as July 1, according to B.C.’s restart plan.

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However, he says nothing is set in stone.

“Council always has, of course, the opportunity to change that,” he told NEWS 1130. “Even if it goes back to full, 100 per cent dining, we’re going to have to review what we do with it.”

Walker says regardless, many of the restaurants along Marine Drive are working on getting extended patio spaces up to serve more patrons.

Marine Drive is currently open to eastbound traffic only along the White Rock waterfront. The plan to expand patio space came up when indoor dining was not allowed in B.C. due to the pandemic.

Restrictions have eased in the weeks since, allowing for the resumption of indoor dining, at limited capacity and with safety protocols in place.

B.C. has its sights set on entering phase three of its restart plan as early as Canada Day. Indoor and outdoor dining with no group size limit is part of that next stage.