Local brewery seeks to expand outdoor seating area

Smithers Brewing Company proposes a 13-metre by 4-metre patio in its parking lot

The Smithers Brewing Company (SBC) may soon be the first business in Smithers to take advantage of the Provinces’ new expedited approval process for temporary patio spaces.

The brewery proposes to build a 52 square-metre outdoor seating area in their parking lot to mitigate reduced capacity regulations introduced as part of the “B.C. Restart Plan.”

SBC had applied May 6 for a temporary use permit (TUP) from the Town, which was originally on council’s May 26 regular meeting agenda for approval.

“Granting us to do so would help SBC gain back lost revenue our business faced during the Covid-19 shutdown, integrate a rehiring process of our full staff and slowly stimulate the town of Smithers local economy,” said SBC’s Adin Bennett in a letter to council.

READ MORE: Restaurants grapple with reopening under new regulations

In the interim, however, working with CAO Alan Harris, they discovered a simpler process. The parking area, Bennett explained, was a separate parcel and had been subject to a parking covenant. But businesses in the downtown commercial zone are longer required to provide parking, so simply by amalgamating the property, SBC is free to expand with approval of B.C.’s Liquor Control and Regulation Branch (LCRB).

That approval should be quick in coming. The Province introduced a new policy May 22 allowing the LCRB to issue temporary expanded service area authorization (TESAA) to all food primary, liquor primary, and manufacturer licensees in the province. LCRB also streamlined approvals with an expedited online application process at no cost to the applicant.

“Increasing the size of existing service areas is expected to support licensees in complying with requirements under the Provincial Health Orders and recommendations, in particular with respect to social/physical distancing,” the policy states.

Despite what amounts to basically a blanket approval for outdoor service areas, applicants still need support from their municipalities.

At the May 26 meeting, council passed a motion to allow staff to provide a pre-approval letter covering all primary and manufacturer liquor licence holders in Smithers who want to apply for TESAAs.

For those businesses that will still require a Smithers temporary use permit to do so, the Town has also streamlined its process and waived fees. After receiving a request from restaurant and pub owners in town, council moved quickly at a special meeting May 13 to amend the Town’s highways bylaw to give the deputy mayor and CAO the authority to approve TUPs for patios.

READ MORE: Patios, landscaping plans create uncertainty for downtown businesses

As of May 29, no other restaurants or pubs had applied to the Town, said CAO Alan Harris, adding that one undisclosed business was thinking about using their parking lot, which would not require a permit from Smithers.

Carly McIntyre from Water Sushi said using parking spots on Main Street is an intriguing prospect, but sees a financial barrier.

“I think it would be really interesting to see what it would look like and if it would enhance the beauty of our Main Street,” she said. “But, I think it would cost more than what we have at this time.”

Rahilla Khan from Lalazar said they are also very interested in expanding their restaurant’s outdoor capacity.

Other restaurant owners contacted by The Interior News did not respond in time for press.

Bennett did not have a firm timeline for construction of the SBC patio saying it would depend on need and the weather. Prior to new capacity regulations, the brewpub was rated for 100 guests, now that is down to 50. He said with the existing patio space in front of their building and the proposed parking lot seating area, they will be able to bring that up to 86.

Both the Province’s and Town’s new policies expire Oct. 31.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seabridge Gold starts drilling along proposed tunnel route north of Stewart

Twin tunnels will connect the KSM mine to its mill and tailings site

Mother grizzly bear with two cubs spotted on Gruchy’s Beach trail near Terrace

Conservation officers also warning public to stay away from Grizzlies on lower Kitimat River

Terrace conservation officers relocate Spirit bear

Bear roamed Kitsumkalum Valley north of Terrace for many years

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Overall house sales drop in the northwest

COVID-19 pandemic slowed market activity

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Large rogue floating ‘island’ corralled by Lac la Hache residents

At least 60 feet wide, this large mass of plants is free-floating on the lake

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read