Thursday, April 25, 2024

Footpath dining fees off the menu

Ipswich City Council has announced it will waive footpath dining fees for local businesses and refund any already paid for 2020-21.

Councillors unanimously agreed on the measure – which will cost council about $10,000 – as a goodwill gesture to the city’s cafes and restaurants doing it tough during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Teresa Harding said the hospitality sector was key to a prosperous and liveable Ipswich.

“We have a vibrant local restaurant scene here in Ipswich, and we can each do our bit to support the sector as it recovers from the impact of the pandemic,” she said.

“The footpath dining licence fee waiver will create benefits for businesses, residents, and the local economy, as well as encouraging more hospitality venues to take up the opportunity for footpath dining.”

Mayor Harding said Queensland’s first Small Business Friendly Council would continue to partner with both of the city’s Chambers of Commerce to deliver further support.

“We are committed to cutting red tape and making it easier for businesses across a variety of sectors to thrive in our CBD,” she said.

Economic and Industry Development Committee Chair, Cr Nicole Jonic had asked council to consider the waiving of scheduled footpath dining licence fees for the 2020-2021 financial year and identify opportunities to simplify the process and ease the regulatory requirements on business.

Cr Jonic said it was aimed at all current, new and additional footpath dining operators to encourage growth in this area given hospitality has been one of the hardest hit areas during COVID-19 restrictions.

“There are currently only eight footpath dining businesses operating across the city. It is not difficult to imagine that a revitalised CBD will see a growth of this form of hospitality in the future,” she said.

“Council wants to make it as easy as possible for businesses to expand or commence footpath dining. Council will provide a guideline to operators on how and what is required to apply for a permit.

“Extended footpath dining permits will make it easier for businesses to expand their seating on to footpaths and other areas.”

Details of the new measures, including how extended footpath dining permits support businesses and which hospitality businesses are eligible for extended footpath dining permits, are featured on council website.

Cr Andrew Fechner, a Top of Town business owner, declared a conflict of interest, left the chamber and did not vote on this motion.

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