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