Innovation comes from unexpected quarters and when it comes it boosts businesses by helping them generate more revenue. A good example is Lower Lonsdale in Northern Vancouver, where the city’s council has just decided to swap parking spots for patio space.
The existing law restricts a restaurant’s patio to 2.5 metres in front of the restaurant. This space allows eateries to place a maximum of two rows of tables outside. However, this is set to change for the five restaurants located on Lonsdale Avenue south of Esplanade. These establishments will be able to extend their patios over parking stalls. If the patio encroaches onto the sidewalk, the restaurants would have to bear the cost of the sidewalk extension, which would traverse through the former parking stalls.
Councillor Linda Buchanan believes the opportunity to enjoy al fresco dining outweighs the removal of the eight parking stalls along Lonsdale. Buchanan said that while she appreciated the concerns expressed about the removal, it would ultimately benefit the restaurants in question, which would generate more revenue thanks to expanded seating. This is a small price to pay for the loss of parking, and she was certain that people would be able to find alternative parking spaces.
This pilot project is supported by the five affected restaurants. The restaurateurs believe more foot traffic and outdoor dining opportunities will improve the block. They added that customers have always enjoyed eating outdoors, and their only grouse was insufficient outdoor dining space.
Councillor Craig Keating stated that increasing patio space was long overdue, and he believes it was a great idea that should extend to alleys and back lanes, which could also be converted to dining areas. Keating also suggested adding a spiral staircase and conducting some renovations to allow the one-story restaurants along Lonsdale Avenue to offer rooftop dining.
Restaurateurs who want to participate in this pilot project would have to pay for their parking spot patio or extension of the sidewalk. These restaurants will also have to buy liability insurance.
Outdoor dining has become a serious initiative in North Vancouver as a way of bringing life back to the streets of the city. Larry Orr, the city’s Business Services Manager, said that the success of outdoor patios was already there for people to see at The Shipyard and Friday Night Market, and these places prove there is a demand for al fresco dining.
Innovation has always been important for business success and the growth of an economy. UCW understands this and has made innovation an integral part of its MBA program, where students are encouraged to come up with novel solutions for real-world business challenges. UCW MBA graduates are moulded into innovators who drive business success at their workplace.