Vancouver launches “extended patio (heater) hours”: A chance for public attention to gas-burning heaters and GHG emissions

Patio heaters LondonToday the City of Vancouver announced that restaurants can apply for extended patio hours this summer, to stay open til 1 a.m. Wonderful for customers. Also, a good chance for dialogue about decorative flames and patio heaters.

We refer to our May 14, 2015, article, Outdoor patio heaters defy Vancouver’s Greenest City dreams: Many tons of carbon emitted each year. Change needed. Leaders needed!.

One source says a heater with a heat output of 12.5 kilowatts will produce around 34.9 kilograms of carbon dioxide before the fuel runs out (after approximately 13 hours). On the back of an envelope, we estimate that if all eligible restaurants used heaters, the total could be about 3 million kilograms of CO2 from June to October, in Vancouver, from these restaurants alone. As a percent of emissions from Vancouver, this could be small. But symbolically, it could be important.

We encourage the City and public to use this as an opportunity to test their words and actions. Especially people who support Vancouver’s “Greenest City” aspirations, who are concerned about climate change, who attend marches and rallies, who are willing to take action. Who are against fracking, pipelines, and oil tankers.

In March, we learned from Sadhu Johnston (Deputy City Manager, in charge of the city’s sustainability and Greenest City portfolio) that the City has no concrete plans and no schedule to deal with this topic of emissions from space heaters. This application process for extended hours could have included an extra line, even just for information, asking about the use of patio heaters and decorative units, and asking if the applicant had any policies on limiting their use.

But that opportunity was missed. So it’s up to consumers to engage in dialogue with restaurant owners. Feel free to direct them to this article. Customers can ask staff about the topic, or submit customer feedback comments to the manager. Are there technological solutions? Are there ways to provide the ambiance without consuming fossil fuels?

Prominent restaurants and bars that proclaim they meet LEED standards for eco-friendly buildings and advertise local and organic food ingredients on their menus are also engaged in a contradiction. Though they may be lovely to look at, perhaps the decorative flame units and fireplaces, and propane patio heaters are also a conspicuous and wasteful consumer of fossil fuels. Just how badly do we need those flames?

VanCityBuzz plans to publish a list of the restaurants with extended patio hours. A perfect list for activists to engage in dialogue with restaurant owners.


Extended patio hours help kick-off an early summer in Vancouver

June 18 2015

It’s patio season

With patio season in full swing, locals and tourists alike can enjoy extended patio hours at 72 restaurants throughout Vancouver this summer with spaces allowed to remain open until 1:00am as part of the City’s extended patio pilot project.

Currently, 314 active large patios and 260 active small patios are eligible for the extension.
“Vancouver’s summer is off to an early start, and extended patio hours are making our city home to even more vibrant and lively streetscapes,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

“There’s no better place to enjoy Vancouver’s famed local food culture than on a patio, and this program ensures that patios at establishments with strong neighbourhood track records can stay open later on Vancouver’s spectacular summer nights.”

How to apply for extended patio hours
The extended patio hours pilot runs from April to October.
To apply, your establishment must have:

  • Up-to-date insurance
  • All fees paid in full
  • No patio noise-related complaints on record from the last 12 months
  • [CityHallWatch note: Wouldn’t it have been great if the City added one extra line — “Number of patio heaters, if any, plus estimate of GHG emissions over the season, and brief description of efforts to minimize emissions.” (voluntary)]

Last modified: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 10:15:45

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