City of Vernon Coun. Dalvir Nahal proposed two blocks of Main Street be closed to bolster recovery for downtown businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

City of Vernon Coun. Dalvir Nahal proposed two blocks of Main Street be closed to bolster recovery for downtown businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

Vernon’s ‘support local’ Main Street closure would cost city $24K, staff say

Bylaw costs, loss of parking revenue and equipment logistics behind price tag

The closure of Vernon’s Main Street would cost the city around $24,275, according to staff.

Coun. Dalvir Nahal proposed the closure of 30th Avenue between 29th and 31st Streets from 9 a.m. Thursday through 9 a.m. Monday as a way to bolster support for local businesses — especially those limited by dining-in bans amid COVID-19.

City staff point to bylaw costs, loss of parking revenue and equipment logistics as reasons behind the cost. In comparison, the City of Kelowna is set to close four blocks of Bernard Avenue to the tune of $53,000 July 1 following the great success of summer 2020.

READ MORE: Kelowna opens Bernard parking spaces for patio expansion

Using city staff to set up and take down barricades was identified as a key cost point. The cost would run around $4,590 in total for the proposed 17-week closure of the two-block portion — or $270 a week.

With the road closed to traffic, the report states bylaw officers would have to bag the parking meters within the closure area. The staff hours involved would cost another $1,685.

City staff also noted the loss of revenue from the 46 parking meters is anticipated to be $18,000.

Nahal’s original proposal, if passed, would see the City of Vernon lend its unused tables and chairs free of charge from the Recreation Centre so restaurants and cafés could expand their patio seating into the street between May 13 and Sept. 6 without incurring any extra cost burdens.

City staff, however, said wear and tear, weathering and staining of the tables and chairs are a concern as tables cost $175 each and it’s $125 per chair. These are funded by the Recreation partners.

City staff instead recommend a less expensive option of 20 tables ($60 each) and 100 chairs ($15 each).

“Though functional, the equipment was never intended for meal service or extended periods of use,” the report to council reads.

Alternatively, city staff recommended participating business rent their own tables and chairs, contradicting the original proposal.

Collection of the borrowed furniture is also a concern, along with storage when they’re not in use. The Downtown Vernon Association has been in charge of these processes before and could be requested to take care of this, the report reads.

The report is to come before council Monday, May 10, for deliberation.

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READ MORE: Vernon Mounties respond to 287 mental health calls in 5 months


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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