Busi­nesses free to take din­ing to the out­doors

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Inge Hansen inge.hansen@ whit­sun­day­times.com.au

THE old adage that there’s no such thing as a free lunch has once again reared its head for Whit­sun­day Regional Coun­cil.

At last week’s or­di­nary meet­ing in Bowen there was a mo­tion put for­ward for out­door din­ing fees of $41 per square me­tre and a 100% rental free re­bate up to 24 months for premises in Bowen, Proser­pine and Collinsville – mak­ing it es­sen­tially free for 24 months for busi­nesses in th­ese lo­ca­tions.

But for Air­lie, fees would stay the same at $204 per square me­tre.

Mayor An­drew Will­cox did not sup­port the mo­tion, say­ing busi­nesses needed to be “pay­ing some­thing” per square me­tre wher­ever they were.

He sug­gested a change to the mo­tion which would still see fees re­duced to $41 per square me­tre but the rental free re­bate low­ered from 100% to 50%.

His amend­ment also sug­gested a re­view af­ter 12 months in­stead of two years.

“I re­it­er­ate, while I un­der­stand the com­mu­nity (in th­ese ar­eas) is do­ing it tough, there needs to be some­thing at­trib­uted to square me­tre rate,” he said.

Divi­sion 5 Coun­cil­lor Dave Clark said the ini­tial idea would be “easy to con­trol” as busi­nesses would still need to pay an ap­pli­ca­tion fee to have out­door din­ing.

“(Mayor Will­cox) has said it three or four times to­day in (his) Adani speech how tough they’re do­ing it up here (In Bowen),” he said.

“(Busi­nesses) aren’t ask­ing (us) to give them any­thing (and) they’re not do­ing it to line their pock­ets, all they want is out­side din­ing.”

Af­ter a lengthy dis­cus­sion, the orig­i­nal mo­tion was passed with four of the seven coun­cil­lors agree­ing an out­door din­ing fee of $41 per square me­tre from busi­ness own­ers in Bowen, Proser­pine and Collinsville who wished to ex­tend to the front of their stores.

Busi­ness own­ers in th­ese dis­tricts will re­ceive a 100% rental free re­bate up to two years and coun­cil is set to re­view the mo­tion in two years’ time.

PHOTO: PETER CAR­RUTHERS

HEAD OUT­DOORS: Busi­nesses who want to ex­tend al­fresco din­ing can do so with a fee.

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