Busi­ness own­ers op­ti­mistic

Stirling Times - - Front Page - FIRST RE­PORTED AT Com­mu­ni­tynews .com.au Laura Pond

THE Scar­bor­ough re­de­vel­op­ment has been a dif­fi­cult jour­ney for beach­front busi­ness own­ers, but those re­main­ing are hope­ful their re­solve will soon be re­warded.

For The Sand­bar owner Ben Ran­dall, busi­ness took a “nose dive” a year ago when fences went up around the bound­ary of his restau­rant and The Es­planade was closed to traf­fic.

The venue’s usu­ally high Fe­bru­ary/March 2017 sales fig­ures were akin to its low sea­son trade dur­ing win­ter.

Mr Ran­dall, who bought the for­mer Zan­ders and Torch Bar in 2013, be­lieved his de­ci­sion to cease week­day day­time trad­ing for three win­ter months last year kept the busi­ness afloat.

He lamented the lack of sup­port from the State Gov­ern­ment, echoed by Cord­ing­ley’s Surf and Rip Curl Scar­bor­ough owner Wayne Bowen, who said last month was the first dur­ing the re­de­vel­op­ment in which sales were not down on the pre­vi­ous year.

“It’s a long way to go to re­coup what was lost,” he said. “But we’re op­ti­mistic.” Craig Kim­ber’s Wild Fig Cafe is an­other sur­vivor, but the owner said their bot­tom line kept creep­ing lower.

“To say it was a chal­lenge is a bit of an un­der­state­ment,” he said.

“We had to keep re-eval­u­at­ing where bot­tom was.”

Boho Es­presso and Matisse Beach Club were two high pro­file vic­tims of the re­de­vel­op­ment.

Mr Kim­ber be­lieved there should have been greater con­sul­ta­tion with busi­nesses and recog­ni­tion of the sub­stan­tial im­pact the re­de­vel­op­ment had on them.

“I think cer­tainly there are lessons to be learned,” he said.

“There’s peo­ple that have lost their liveli­hood on the back of this.”

The State Gov­ern­ment pro­vided a one-off com­pen­sa­tion pay­ment to af­fected busi­nesses and the City of Stir­ling con­trib­uted a one-off pay­ment and waived al­fresco din­ing fees and food busi­ness in­spec­tion fees.

But Mr Ran­dall be­lieved the re­de­vel­op­ment was “100 per cent” nec­es­sary.

“They’ve done an amaz­ing job,” he said.

Mr Bowen said he had seen “many, many mas­ter­plans” pro­posed for Scar­bor­ough dur­ing his 30 years in busi­ness but was con­fi­dent the long-awaited re­sult would cre­ate a “real des­ti­na­tion” for res­i­dents and busi­nesses.

Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey d480459

Above: The Sand­bar owner Ben Ran­dall and Wild Fig owner Craig Kim­ber.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d480437

Be­low: Rip Curl Scar­bor­ough man­ager Mike Coun­sel and owner Wayne Bowen.

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