Tofino plans ‘pop up’ outdoor dining area to support local restaurants

Council endorses plan to transform RV parking lot into ‘al fresco’ park.

In a move designed to support its local restaurant industry, the District of Tofino has announced plans to transform an RV parking lot adjacent to the municipal hall into an ‘al fresco’ dining park.

Tofino is expecting tourists to begin trickling into town this month after a lengthy absence caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but social distancing requirements will limit the amount of space restaurants have to serve customers.

“We know that dining is a big part of Tofino’s draw as a destination and forms a big part of the visitor experience while they’re here and it is a real concern that an undersupply of seating is likely to result in a negative experience for visitors,” said Tofino’s Manager of Public Spaces, Cultural and Visitor Initiatives April Froment in a presentation to the town’s council on June 1.

Froment explained that the district became aware that a lack of outdoor eating areas for customers to enjoy takeout food presents “a very real risk to the viability of that sector” through the recently struck Mayor’s Economic Task Force as well as a roundtable discussion hosted by the Tofino Long Beach Chamber of Commerce.

She said the RV parking lot was identified as a feasible area for a ‘pop up’ dining park and added that, if more space is needed, other areas could be explored as well, like the nearby Village Green and a parking area at the corner of Neill Street and Second Street. She said the dining areas would remain public and would not be affiliated with any specific businesses, but would provide an area for residents and visitors to enjoy take-out food from restaurants or homemade lunches.

“This would be beyond privately created or operated restaurant patios and would offer visitors a fresh air option that they may be more comfortable with,” she said, adding picnic tables and planters would be brought in to beautify the area. “We want to make it a pleasant experience, something where people want to go sit down and not that they’re relegated to a parking lot as sort of a consolation table…With many seasonal festivals and events cancelled, the pop up park is also an opportunity to engage artists to enrich the visitor experience through temporary displays and occasional music.”

She noted the project is still under development and “has a few moving parts” as well as “uncertainties and risks,” including staff time.

“The district is currently working with a reduced number of staff and all efforts will need to be made to minimize any additional demands on regular district operations, but it’s unrealistic to think that there won’t be some impact,” she said.

She added that, if the project moves ahead, the district estimates the dining park could be set up as early as June 15 and remain in place into September, but staff would need to engage community partners and contractors to ensure the area was properly monitored and maintained.

“We need to minimize any involvement, if possible, from regular district staff. They’re fully committed right now to keeping the other wheels turning,” she said adding cleaning services would need to be contracted. “It’s not going to be wiped down after every diner, but of course some level of cleaning and upkeep would need to take place so we’re looking at how we can best do that.”

She said all costs associated with the dining park, including a possible coordinator position, would be paid for with Resort Municipality Initiative funding.

In an email to the Westerly News after the meeting, Froment suggested 10 locally made cedar picnic tables would be purchased for $600 each and would be repurposed to other areas once the dining park is no longer needed.

She said a total budget for the project, including cleaning, recycling and waste removal, was not yet known, but reiterated that all money spent would come from RMI.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: Resorts in Tofino and Ucluelet prepare to reopen in June

READ MORE: Tofino launches two COVID-19 task forces

READ MORE: Tofino businesses grapple with what’s to come

CoronavirusDiningTofino,

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ucluelet’s Terrace Beach Resort is for sale

The commercial offering of 21 suites and cabins was recently listed for $4,495,000

Young tourist caught untying boats from Ucluelet dock

“He was just untying the boats and watching them float away,” said Harbour Master Kevin Cortes.

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Ucluelet RCMP warns of scammers impersonating police

“Police will never demand payment of any kind to get rid of an arrest warrant.”

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Campaign aims to raise $50K for young family of deceased Vancouver Island skydiver

James Smith, 34, died July 5 following incident in Nanoose Bay

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

RCMP disarm man experiencing mental health crisis

The male pulled a knife on officers and then held it to his own throat expressing a desire to die

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Most Read