The City of Kelowna is offering free rent for several years to those who engage the Bernard Avenue patio program.
Once construction of the main streetscape is complete this summer, shop owners will be encouraged to start building their own sidewalk patio spaces and will be given two years of free rent on the space, up front, plus a free permit to operate for the first year.
The plan seemed to sit well with city council as the municipality’s staff presented it Monday afternoon, with the mayor lauding the incredible job the construction workers are doing to keep the entire project on target.
“When we went out for lunch today, I just keep saying to my colleagues what a wonderful job their doing,” said Walter Gray, whose council is keeping up the tradition of lunching together on council Mondays.
Rent will be base on location, set by block and charged on a per square foot basis, with those rates set for the activity or use. As such, a business with a liquor licence intending to use the space for food and alcohol service in the 200-300 block of Bernard Avenue will be renting for $8.64 per square foot a month by 2017, according to charts issued in the latest council report.
In addition, those who build expensive designs will be given a range of breaks on their third year’s rent in order to encourage uptake on the program.
However, patios constructed for more than $5000 will receive a 100 per cent rent reduction and those constructed for $2500 to $5000 a 50 per cent rent reduction.
The reconstruction of Bernard Avenue is a $14-million dollar effort intended to draw more people into the downtown core. It will combine with a new public pier, yacht club, extension of Stuart Park and additional boat moorage.