By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily
The unresolved and sometimes contentious issue of café and restaurant decks protruding onto City sidewalks protruded into City council Monday night.
Coun. Donna Macdonald pulled one item out of the Heritage Commission report as she voiced her concerns about The Royal Bar and Grill on Baker Street’s application for a permanent sidewalk café in front of their establishment.
The Community Heritage Commission recommended on Nov. 16 approval for a permanent structure only if the aesthetic improvements were made to the fencing to compliment the heritage character of the building.
The commission recommended the updated design be brought back to the heritage commission for review.
However, the request was the first one for a permanent structure on Baker Street and Coun. Macdonald had some reservations about the room that would be left on the sidewalk for people to walk by, particularly in the winter when snow piled up on the sides of the road.
“This is new and it is a big thing, and design is one thing … but I was wondering what the process was here for this (application),” she said.
From a City staff perspective, said City manager Kevin Cormack, they have approved such decks in other areas of the city. The sidewalk in front of The Royal is a bit wider than in the other areas where they have approved a deck.
“We felt the application was within the existing policy,” said Cormack, adding that City staff thought the spot could work better as a trial for permanent deck structures on Baker Street.
“But we can bring this to council if council wants to make that decision.”
“We have a narrow street there and it’s one thing to have a temporary one, but a permanent one, I don’t know,” said Coun. Robin Cherbo.
“And we would definitely lose a parking spot, which we have few of.”
This permanent one is narrower than the summer one, said Cormack, and this would allow the existing sidewalk to be used and parking would not be affected.
The new café attached to The Royal has been done successfully in other areas of the country.
“I believe their intentions in summer are to expand it,” he added. “But this application meets our current bylaws and policies.”
A motion was passed by council to review the application.
“Somebody had better get on the phone to The Royal right away so they don’t spend any more money on this,” said Coun. Kim Charlesworth.