I spend time in Vancouver, Portland and San Francisco and I've noticed each city has a different approach to or level of tolerance for folks who feel it is okay to take up table space without ordering any food or drink.
I'm wondering what your experience here in Vancouver has been. Do the places you frequent allow people to sit for hours after getting a free hot water with lemon? Are the cafes you go to happy to have campers who bring their own lunch/beverage while using the free wifi while they conduct hours of business?
Would you find a minimum charge the same as the cheapest item on the menu per person a reasonable solution? Or should the hot water drinkers be charged a couple of bucks for the privilege? What do you think the Vancouver market would bear?
(You've probably figured out I'd be in favour of a minimum charge if patrons can't bring themselves to buy food or drink in a food and drink establishment -- I understand businesses don't want to offend people but there must be a line).