City’s alfresco dining boost
Alfresco dining is set for a boost in Busselton with three new areas for restaurant-goers to enjoy about to open — but locals are divided over the plans.
The trial of the three new sites — one in Prince Street and two in Queen Street — means three car parking spaces have had to be removed, sparking concerns from business owners that the changes will hit their trade.
Work to convert the outdoor areasbegan on Monday morning and was completed by Thursday, with restaurants set to benefit saying they were excited to get going with their first services after a six-month wait for consultation on the plans before council approvals were granted.
Despite that wait for consultation results, Crazy Cash and Goods co-director Matthew Webb said the licence for his pawnbroking business stipulated two car bays were essential for customers buying and selling big items, and the City had not consulted his business before notifying him five days before works began on the alfresco areas.
“We have had different stories from the City,” he said.
“First they said they had consulted adjacent businesses and then they said they did not need to consult us because the development was on council land.”
City of Busselton chief executive Mike Archer said the alfresco spaces had been converted into informal dining spaces from existing City-owned car bays which had not been reserved or leased by any business.
“The decision to progress with a trial of alfresco dining spaces in the Busselton CBD was based on feedback received through a community survey, discussion at consecutive town centre activation workshops and with interested proprietors,” he said.
“The City notified adjacent businesses a week prior to work commencing and the conversion, taking less than a day to complete, involved minimal disruption.”
It is hoped the dining areas, which are part of a CBD activation project, will help increase the number of visitors to the city centre with the trial set to end in June next year at which point the scheme can be extended, or the areas can be returned to their previous state.
Pan & Grill and Bistro Breton are among the restaurants that made applications to the City to use the dining spaces and paid the City to undertake the work on the areas.
Pan & Grill director Sammy Singh said he was excited for customers to use the dining area.
“We’ve been through all the correct applications with the City and it is the parking bay out the front of my shop,” he said.
“We’ve already had positive feedback from customers.”
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