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Opinion: Burnaby drivers whining about lost parking due to restaurant-saving patios. Good grief

Many Burnaby businesses are teetering on the edge of closing down forever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A patio on Hastings.

I want to make something clear at the top of this blog – many Burnaby businesses are teetering on the edge of closing down forever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One sector that has been hit really hard is the restaurant industry, which was forced to shut down indoor dining again this spring due to health restrictions.

During this period, some managed to add patio space, like La Forchetta on Hastings in the Capitol Hill area, which added a nice covered area in its parking lot.

The City of Burnaby also jumped in with approvals for some barriers on Hastings in parking spaces to allow for the expansion of patio space. White Spot at the Kensington shopping centre also added a patio that takes up some parking spaces.

Hey, at least it’s something. The weather is getting nicer and it will convince some people who still don’t want to dine indoors to come out to eat if it’s outdoors.

But that isn’t good enough for some people, namely drivers.

I’ve actually had a few people write in to me complaining about the “loss of parking” due to these patios.

“I don’t think I should have to park so far away just to make space for a patio,” whined one reader.

“Indoor dining is allowed again so we should get rid of these so we can park on Hastings,” said another.

Good grief. Cry me a river.

Businesses are just trying to survive, but some people are upset because they have to walk farther. I get that it might be annoying to have to park a little farther away, but get a grip.

Please just take a breath and think about how it’s such a tiny sacrifice in the name of helping others. (And yes, I get if someone has mobility challenges this makes things harder, but the folks who were complaining to me admitted that wasn't an issue.)

Burnaby businesses have able to take advantage of spring and summer weather by adding outdoor seating or expanding into adjacent outdoor spaces as part of the City of Burnaby’s Active Sidewalks, Open Businesses program, which has been extended to Oct. 31, 2021.

The program was created in 2020 to assist local businesses with reopening safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The extra outdoor space provides more room for patrons to maintain physical distancing, and allows restaurants to add patio seating while remaining in compliance with the current provincial health orders.

“Burnaby businesses have gone above and beyond to help keep our community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is important that we continue to support them during this time,” said Mayor Mike Hurley, in a news release. “The temporary outdoor retail spaces and patios are a great way to keep customers safe, with the added benefit of making our streets even more vibrant and lively.”

Businesses can apply to extend onto private property, such as on-site parking, or apply to use adjacent city-owned space. The city has created an expedited system to process applications as quickly as possible. Learn more at

Businesses may apply to use adjacent city space or extend into their own private property for:

* restaurant seating; 

* merchant displays (e.g. clothing racks, outdoor tables, etc.); 

* a pick-up/drop-off kiosk or customer queuing; or

* other uses (applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis).

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.