Staff at The Lakes Restaurant – located inside the Howard Johnson by Wyndham on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich – are waiting for permission from the province to open the new outdoor tables on the pool deck. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Staff at The Lakes Restaurant – located inside the Howard Johnson by Wyndham on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich – are waiting for permission from the province to open the new outdoor tables on the pool deck. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Pool deck turns patio as Saanich restaurant cooks up creative outdoor seating options

District supports local businesses such as The Lakes Restaurant in creating seating

Saanich foodies looking for dine-in options will soon be able to sit poolside at the Lakes Grillhouse ‘n Bar – located inside the Howard Johnson by Wyndham hotel on Elk Lake Drive.

Restaurants across the region are looking for innovative ways to create more outdoor space for guests as the province has limited capacity to 50 per cent until further notice to allow for social distancing. As a result, staff at the Lakes Grillhouse ‘n Bar transformed the hotel pool deck into a second outdoor patio.

Holly Langlais, general manager, explained that the deck hasn’t been licensed for food and liquor service in the past, but since the pool remains closed due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, management figured it was best to make the most of the space and open it up for restaurant use.

READ ALSO: Saanich looks to help restaurants increase capacity with outdoor seating

The pandemic “has forced everyone in the industry to think outside the box,” she said, adding that many creative solutions such as expanded take out options have been implemented and will likely be carried over to the post-pandemic phase.

The Lakes Grillhouse ‘n Bar, which reopened on May 19, applied for the expansion permit at the end of May and Langlais anticipates they’re “days away” from being given the green light on the pool deck patio.

On May 22, the province announced it would streamline the application process for restaurants looking to expand their patios but applicants also need a letter of support from their municipality, Langlais said.

She added that Saanich has been “so incredibly helpful” throughout the application process with municipal staff available to provide clear guidance and ensure the proposed plans aligned with provincial safety restrictions.

READ ALSO: Pandemic-related restaurant closures take an emotional and financial toll

“We’re in this for the long haul,” said Mayor Fred Haynes. The plan is to “let restaurants make the most of summer” with expanded outdoor seating.

On May 27, Saanich sent a letter to the BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation branch indicating the municipality’s interest in opting-in to the province’s expedited patio permitting process to support the “economic resilience” of local businesses, he said.

District staff have also been directed to look at how Saanich can make these expanded patios possible – as outlined in a report by Coun. Zac de Vries, Haynes said. This may include temporarily reducing parking space requirements or permitting tables on boulevards.

Once the Lakes Grillhouse ‘n Bar’s expansion permit is approved, the province will allow the new patio to be in use until Oct. 31 – however, Langlais expects the pool deck patio to be popular and said management hopes to make it permanent.

READ ALSO: Restaurants pivot to groceries, cater to community amid COVID-19 woes

People like outdoor space in the summer – especially now as “that’s where they feel comfortable,” Langlais said.

She added that management has also been working with an engineer to assess the possibility of covering the pool entirely to create even more space for tables since the pool won’t reopen any time soon.

While the pandemic has been “tough on business,” Langlais said the “silver lining” has been that restaurants have the time to try new business models and collaborate with others in the industry and with the municipality to find solutions.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusRestaurants

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

 

Pool deck turns patio as Saanich restaurant cooks up creative outdoor seating options

Just Posted

Students from SD62 stepped up to help members in the community with the annual 10,000 Tonight food drive. This year’s organizers had to adapt during the campaign as COIVD-19 public health orders changed. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore students step up to make sure community members don’t go without

Students of SD62 are this year’s recipient of the Youth Volunteer Award

A cat died in this house fire in Sidney afternoon. The fire started on the house’s deck and spread from that point. Sidney Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brett Mikkelsen said the permanent presence of crews at the Community Safety Building prevented worse damage. (Photo courtesy of Clayton Firth)
Sidney house fire kills cat, causes extensive damage

Official says fire started on deck and damage to the house could have been worse

Millstream Village is welcoming a new Marshalls location March 9. (Photo courtesy GWL Realty Advisors)
New Marshalls store in Langford brings boost to women in need

Retailer will hold opening ceremony in Millstream Village March 9

Abstract Developments is donating $75,000 to support community programming at The Cridge Centre for the Family. (Courtesy of The Cridge Centre)
Victoria developer builds support for community programs

Abstract Developments donates $75,000 to The Cridge Centre for the Family

SD 62 (Sooke) has announced a COVID-19 exposure at David Cameron Elementary in Colwood. Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Black Press Media File).
COVID-19 exposure at Colwood’s David Cameron Elementary

Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24.

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read