The Islands Trust wants to hear what people think about Moby’s Pub plans to make a patio they opened during the COVID-19 pandemic a permanent one with seating for 65 people.
Moby’s was one of many establishments across B.C. operating a patio using a Temporary Expanded Service Area (TESA), a temporary licence which expires June 1. TESA allowed businesses to serve food and alcohol in outdoor spaces, keeping their businesses running amidst indoor dining restrictions implemented during various phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The longtime Salt Spring Island pub and restaurant at 124 Upper Ganges Rd. has now applied to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch for a new patio licence allowing them to serve 65 patrons and make their patio a permanent fixture. The hours of operation noted by the Islands Trust are seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
They are not the only Salt Spring Island business seeking to make a temporary pandemic patio license into a permanent one. A recent open house was held for Ciderworks’ application to continue hosting people on their outdoor deck overlooking their apple orchard.
As the local government, the island’s Local Trust Committee (LTC) will be considering the application as well as a development permit that is required to allow these changes to the site, with trustees possibly making a decision at the March 2022 meeting.
The LTC is seeking feedback on the application in writing via firstname.lastname@example.org and also holding a virtual open house on Feb. 17 with anyone affected by the application welcome to attend.
A total of 16 letters of support have already been received. Several letters noted the positive addition the patio has been during times of pandemic restrictions. “[It’s] a wonderful spot to enjoy the summer evenings in a safe, friendly atmosphere,” wrote Richard Mellen. “Please do not take away this simple pleasure from us.”
Mark Aston noted that while so many aspects of the pandemic have been tragic and challenging, one positive outcome has been the addition of outdoor spaces reminiscent of Europe where people can enjoy food, entertainment and human connection.
Several letters noted positively staff and management’s efforts to adhere to COVID-related regulations. Others called for the LTC to support a local employer and their staff, as well as help one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic to recover.
“They are a steady employer on this island of a demographic we are losing,” Bryan Young wrote. “We need to protect employers like Moby’s especially during COVID-19 when businesses like restaurants have suffered inordinately. An outdoor patio . . . helps maintain the viability of Moby’s.”
To attend the open house taking place on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom, visit https://islandstrust.zoom.us/j/62386319246.