Anxiously awaiting the outcome of a Lismore City Council decision on a new outdoor dining policy for the Lismore CBD are Leisa and Kieran Brett, owners of The Loft restaurant in Nesbitt Lane, off Magellan Street.
Anxiously awaiting the outcome of a Lismore City Council decision on a new outdoor dining policy for the Lismore CBD are Leisa and Kieran Brett, owners of The Loft restaurant in Nesbitt Lane, off Magellan Street. Jay Cronan

Lismore 'eat street' off menu

THE idea of a Magellan Eat Street has been replaced with a broader ‘entertainment/activity precinct’ under Lismore’s outdoor dining policy to go before Tuesday night’s Lismore City Council meeting.

The move to include Magellan and Carrington streets, and the Conservatorium end of Keen Street, has been widely welcomed, given most established restaurants are in Keen Street.

“It’s great to see the council is seeing reason in changing the name to the entertainment/activity precinct, but I would like to see Keen Street named Eat Street,” said Keen Street’s Zen Sushi owner Craig Alexander, who had argued for the change.

However, it is what time restaurants must close that is shaping up as the most controversial aspect of the new policy.

A council workshop was told last Tuesday night that police wanted outdoor dining to cease at 10pm to minimise anti-social behaviour.

With most restaurants urging a midnight curfew, council staff in their report for Tuesday’s council meeting opted for an 11pm compromise.

However, most councillors at the workshop appeared to favour a midnight closing.

“An 11pm closing would take the enjoyment out of going out with a group of friends,” Cr John Chant said.

“When you go out with four or six friends you want to sit around and eat, have a drink and a good chat. You don’t want to be chased out at 10.45pm, particularly when we have daylight saving and you want to eat later.”

Mr Alexander said he would like to see no closing restrictions, leaving it up to ‘market forces’ so the restaurant could decide when to close.

The Loft restaurant owners Leisa and Kieran Brett, who have long argued outdoor dining would bring greater life and vibrancy to the CBD, said they were generally happy with an 11pm closing, but said the option of closing a midnight when busy would be more beneficial for restaurants.

“If we have a busy Friday or Saturday night we would be hard pressed to get the food out before having to tell customers to either move inside or leave,” Mrs Brett said.

The council’s executive director of sustainable development, Brent McAllister, said early closure could reduce safety as ‘outdoor dining provides a good crime prevention measure via active surveillance’.

 

 

WHAT TIME SHOULD

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