The streetscape of Castlegar may soon look a little different as the city begins to allow businesses to expand into outdoor spaces.
The City of Castlegar has developed a pilot program to help local businesses adjust to COVID-19 social distancing requirements. The Open Streets Pilot Project will allow businesses to expand into available open spaces on their own property or on city-owned property.
The program will last for the next six months and participating businesses will be required to dismantle their outdoor expansions by the end of October.
In order to institute the program, the city will need to temporarily stop enforcing some of the parking, business licensing, sign and highway encroachment bylaws on the books.
Businesses will need to submit plans for their projects to the city, but the intention of the pilot program is to fast track approvals. Applications are primarily intended to ensure that there is no concern with adjacent businesses or business activities.
Businesses will not have to pay any fees to participate.
The program was just approved at the May 20 city council meeting and Castlegar communications manager Bree Seabrook says the city will have more information on its website and social media accounts soon.
She also says that city staff will be collaborating with the Castlegar Chamber of Commerce on how to reach the business community and will be open to feedback on what more is needed and any adjustments that need to be made as the project is implemented.