After weeks of consultation and debate Penticton council voted 6-0 to set new fees for sidewalk cafés in the city’s downtown core for about $100 more a year than originally proposed by city staff and stakeholders.
It will now cost businesses a flat fee of $300 annually to set up a sidewalk café. Plus, for cafés that require use of city streets there will be an additional charge of $105 a year for every parking spot infringed upon.
A new $100 per year fee was also created for those establishments wishing to place either sales racks or up to two tables and eight chairs on the sidewalk.
At a March 7 meeting only councillors Judy Sentes and Andrew Jakubeit supported such fees. However, most on council (Coun. Garry Litke was not in attendance) said they reversed their positions after hearing from the stakeholders in the area.
“I was at the meeting with all the restaurateurs,” said Coun. John Vassilaki, a former restaurateur himself who two weeks prior had asserted that a sidewalk café could generate “tens of thousands of dollars” a year. “One thing I recognized was … that economics have changed from the time I ran restaurants to today. It is completely different.”
Vassilaki said in the current economic reality the new fees are a fair price for restauranteurs to pay.
“I hope they do well,” he added.