The back of the Telkwa Pub where owner Lonny Carroll is hoping to create a patio. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Telkwa Pub hopes to create some patio space

Pub owner wants to be able serve more customers with social distancing in mind

The Telkwa Pub is hoping to create some more outdoor space in order to serve more customers.

The pub was recently closed for six weeks and only operating take out and off sales for the last three of those weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It recently opened back up to the public for dine-in with reduced hours and limited seating.

Owner Lonny Carroll is hoping to change that.

She made a presentation to Telkwa Council at their last regular meeting, requesting an extension to her outdoor space.

“Due to the six feet distancing required and the size of the pub, what I’d like to do is extend out the back,” she said. “The front there isn’t a lot of room plus with the road, there isn’t a lot of accommodation. I’d like to have a gated area in the back where I can have tables and chairs for at least a certain amount of hours a day so I can get more people into the business.”

Ideally, she envisions having a spot out front with picnic tables for families to enjoy take out food with no alcohol and an area out back for more people to enjoy drinks. While there would be emergency exits, she said the traffic would be routed through the pub. She told council she doesn’t have a problem with closing the outdoor area earlier in the evening to control noise. Carroll is also pricing out tents or some sort of temporary coverage for the back patio for the summer.

Carroll explained to council that she currently can only have 38 people in the restaurant. Before the pandemic hit, she could have up to 100.

“This is my busy time and now we are limited to 38 people, when you’re used to having 80-90 people through a day, it is a huge hit,” she added.

Coun. Rick Fuerst told her he’d have to look at the by-laws before committing to anything.

“To keep businesses like yours viable, we have to work with you and WorkSafe BC and talk with Northern Health,” he said. “It might fit with our by-laws, I’m not sure. We have to go with what our by-laws are, if you are in compliance with those and this is helping your business, I have no problem working with you.”

CAO Debbie Joujan added that she has already started looking into it.

“I have spoken to other municipalities, they are calling them ‘spill-outs’ and sometimes they are making adjustments to their local by-laws to allow businesses to do that for the summer and allow them to get back on track somewhat because it has been such a difficult time,” she said. “Staff can work with Lonny and see what she proposes, and see what we can do to amend by-laws and bring it back to council for consideration.”

Deputy Mayor Annette Morgan supported the idea of allowing the Telkwa Pub to expand its operations.

“You have a very strong town council here that will do what it takes to support our business,” she told Carroll. “When we fail, or when any business fails in this community, we all fail. That is a strong message that this council has said. I certainly support where you want to go with your business.”

She added she would like to see is our council make that commitment to whatever it takes to support the pub as long as it is working under the guidelines of the health authority and [liquor] licensing.

“We recognize that is all a challenge for you right now. We have a limited time to get you that support. If that means we need to meet again before our next [regular] meeting, we meet again. You run your business well and we look to business likes yours to support our community.“

Carroll is hoping to get some answers within the next two weeks.

Council directed staff to work with Carroll to come up with a detailed plan for the extended patio and report back to council as quickly as possible so she can start to serve more customers.

Telkwa

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