Citta’ Bistro to stay open through March 

It appears that Citta' Bistro will live to see another day - or another 31 days, in this case.

Sonia Bozzi, the Vancouver-based owner of the bistro, said in an interview that the landlord, Burrard International Holdings, has allowed Citta' to stay open a month longer.

"The landlord has graciously extended our lease to the end of March," she said. "I'm still hoping to secure April and there's question as to whether construction would start or not on the renovations."

The bistro, which has occupied its current space for 25 years, has had a tenuous existence since November, when it realized its lease was up at the end of February. Burrard International Holdings wants to make some renovations to the space, which occupies a prominent spot in the Whistler Village Square.

Those renovations will include new wood and granite fixtures to the front of the building, as well as "enhancements" to the front of the restaurant space. It's not expected that the space will be converted from use a restaurant, or that the patio will change.

The renovations will nevertheless require Citta' to close for six months, although when that will happen is not clear now.

Mike Kirkegaard, manager of resort planning for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, said that Burrard is currently reviewing the design development of its renovations and that they're still subject to council approval of a development permit.

Bozzi wants the restaurant to stay open through April, when Whistler hosts the TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival from April 17 through 26.

She also said that Citta' has worked out a deal with the Whistler Fire Chief that has extended a non-conforming space permit until May 4.

Citta' currently uses a non-conforming space to store food and beverage. That permit was up at the end of February, along with its initial lease, but if Citta' can stay open until May it can continue to store its food there. The municipality doesn't normally allow the permit.

But even though it can stay open longer, there is no certainty that Citta' will be occupying its current space after the renovations are finished. The landlord has given no indication as to whether another lease will be offered and a spokesman has confirmed that other businesses are interested in the space.

When asked how she feels about having to bid for a space her business has occupied for over two decades, Bozzi said it's just a part of business.

"It is an unfortunate reality, when something is good you hope that you can just keep it going," she said. "We would like to be here another 25 years and we're willing to work with all the parties involved to ensure that various goals are met and that we continue to be a constructive player in this community."

Calls to Bryan Pilbeam, general manager of the Crystal Lodge and Suites and spokesman for the landlord, were not returned for comment.

A campaign to keep Citta' Bistro open has been active since November.

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