5th Street Bar and Woodfired Grill is a cornerstone of the Quadra Village food scene and has been since they opened in the late 1990s.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Victoria allowed for outdoor patios to be established by small businesses and restaurants in order to keep them from going out of business but the allowances for those patios is now coming to a close.
The initiative was called Build Back Victoria.
Since then, the City of Victoria has been working to establish a more permanent outdoor patio bylaw to allow for some of the Build Back Victoria patios to remain in place.
The problem is that the new bylaw doesn’t account for two local pubs whose Build Back Victoria patio wasn’t placed on a roadway, but rather on ‘the boulevard’ — the boulevard being the grassy area between the sidewalk and the roadway.
“This case only affects ourselves at 5th Street and our friends in Cook Street Village, The Beagle,” said Chantal Bouchard, General Manager of 5th Street Bar.
“The reason being is that both of our patios are on the boulevard and the boulevard falls under parks [department].”
The staff, pub ownership and patrons have all since become accustomed to having the outdoor seating there to add to the vibrancy and experience of 5th Street and the neighbourhood they inhabit.
Now, the pub is being told they have to remove the makeshift patio in accordance with city bylaws by May 31st.
Bouchard turned to social media and the power of petitions to try and keep the beloved outdoor seating.
“We are asking you to please help save the patio, which has proven to be loved by our customers and staff,” Bouchard wrote in a social media post.
“Quadra Village has always been a strong community, and our patio has not only strengthened relationships within our community but also brightened up this space.”
On their Instagram post, several other local eateries commiserate with them and their loss.
Fern Café & Bakery responded in the comments section, “We’ve been waiting for our permanent patio application to be approved for about eight months now but they keep stringing us along on the temporary patio and ignoring our official application that we had to pay for and get an Architect to design! Sigh.”
As of this publication, their online petition has received 1,400 of 1,500 signatures in less than 12 hours.
“The petition only takes seconds to sign and we’re always stronger with numbers,” said Bouchard.
“It takes a village — a Quadra Village,” she laughed.
The pub’s next step is to take their petition to the City of Victoria
“Our whole take on this is we just really want to show how much the community wants this patio,” Bouchard told Victoria Buzz.
“What we really want to do here with this petition is to get an extension.”
5th Street hopes to get an extension to the end of September so the patio can remain open for the spring and summer. At that point they can work with the city to get a more permanent patio situation figured out.