Byron restaurateurs fight footpath dining fees
BYRON United will fight a 10 per cent fee hike for footpath dining flagged by Byron Shire Council.
“There are some very serious concerns with council's intention to levy for parking and sewerage contributions on top of what are already ridiculously high licensing fees,” Byron United vice-president James Lancaster said.
Mr Lancaster said footpath dining was cheaper in Sydney's CBD or Circular Quay than in Byron Bay.
The council has voted to consult with local businesses before implementing the 10 per cent increase to the current $665 per square metre footpath dining fees.
The extra fees would pay for footpath maintenance, street furniture and town beautification projects, as well as parking, water and sewerage, a council report says.
Adam Irwin, part-owner of the Mokha cafe in Lawson Street, said he would pay the extra fees if they were used to replicate the Noosa dining experience.
“People come to Byron Bay and they want to dine outside,” Mr Irwin said.
“The best solution I have seen with footpath dining is in Noosa where they have built-in street alcoves that can seat 15 to 20 people,”
“I'd happily pay more if I could see something like that for the money,” he said.
“For example we could do with more trees planted along this street.”
However, Mr Irwin noted local restaurateurs were feeling the pressure of the economic downturn,
“Overall business is a little bit slower than usual,” he said.
“In this type of business any extra cost is hard to absorb.”