Build Back Victoria Supports Local Business

Since its start last spring, Build Back Victoria has issued over 150 temporary permits to help businesses adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and safely expand their operations with flex spaces, patios, mobile vending and loading zones.  

“Build Back Victoria is about supporting businesses and creating more pedestrian friendly public space for residents and visitors when they return,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “Providing quick and flexible permits through the Build Back Victoria program is supporting economic recovery for businesses and allows them to safely operate in public spaces in a way that is bringing more vibrancy and vitality to the city. The program is not only helping businesses weather the pandemic, it’s also shown us what’s possible for our city and the public spaces we all share.”

When the program was extended to October 2021, Council directed staff to engage with the public and businesses on Build Back Victoria initiatives to collect insights and feedback. Staff engaged key stakeholders and conducted a survey that received more than 780 responses and over 8,700 comments, the majority of which, were in favour of the program continuing. 

The spring and summer program will launch in early June and include new streetscape features and a pedestrian-priority zone on Government Street from Humboldt Street to View Street from noon to 10 p.m. daily. The timed daily closure will create inviting public space for pedestrians, cyclists and pedicabs in the afternoon and evening while still allowing for vehicle circulation, commercial pick-up and delivery functions on Government Street each morning. New loading zones and accessible parking stalls will also be installed on and adjacent to the corridor. Council has also directed staff to introduce a requirement for accessibility in flex spaces to take effect by July 1, 2021.

New welcoming features will include wood picnic tables and benches, planters and flowers, gateway improvements, signage and playable street elements like public seating that doubles as performance platforms. These treatments advance Council’s strategic objective for creating a pedestrian-priority Government Street and will inform the longer-term streetscape design.

Learn more about the Build Back Victoria program at victoria.ca/bizresources.