Lease for beachfront cafe site to be terminated
BALLINA Shire Council has moved to terminate the lease for a beachfront cafe which was destroyed by a fire last month.
It comes after years of inaction and doubt about the future of the council-owned site at East Ballina.
The lease for Shelly's on the Beach cafe was transferred to the owners of Fishheads @ Byron in 2012.
The new owners closed the cafe and revealed grand plans to demolish the existing building and develop a new restaurant on the site.
The council worked closely with the owners to acquire more land at a cost of $240,000 to accommodate Fishheads' proposed new building.
However no work has ever been done on the site.
Various proposals put to the council by the owners have been rejected on the grounds of being commercially unviable.
In November this year, the building was completely destroyed in a fire.
Despite requests from the council to clean the site and remove debris, it still has not been cleared up.
Now the council has sought legal advice with a view to terminating Fishheads' lease for the site, and this recommendation was passed at a commercial services committee meeting this week.
A final decision will be made by councillors at the ordinary meeting on December 13.
When the lease is terminated, the council will call for expressions of interest from "experienced operators” to lease the site and build and operate a cafe.
The council's commercial services group manager, Paul Tsikleas, said Fishheads would be able to reapply if they wanted.
"The recommendation to council is to act in accordance with legal advice received in response to a fire destroying the Shelly's cafe building,” he said.
"It has always been council's objective to have a cafe operating and providing a facility to the community, on what is an iconic coastal site.”