The world has changed since COVID-19. There were very few good things that came out of this global pandemic and a bigger focus on alfresco dining is one of them – so people could eat and drink with friends in a COVID-19 Safe way.
The alfresco dining scene is something Oakleigh is renowned for. Places such as Eaton Mall have embraced outdoor dining to great success with parklets, marquees and pop-up bars, making Oakleigh one of the premier outdoor dining areas in Melbourne.
The State Government wanted to support the operation of outdoor dining with our $54.5 Outdoor Economy Package. This program provided funding to councils and grants to business to support outdoor dining.
This included funding $1.5 million to Monash Council to help unlock new space for outdoor dining. As a result, traders like Vanilla and Greca Street have invested significant amounts of money to create a unique outdoor dining experience.
However, Monash have told local businesses that these spaces will need to be shut down by June 30 – despite some traders offering to pay an annual fee to keep their space.
There was not enough consultation by Monash Council with local hospitality businesses – the first the traders heard was when they received a letter telling them they would need to pack up their spaces.
This is bad for these traders and it disregards how hard the last few years have been for them – and how tough things still are. And it’s a bad move for our activity centres.
I have been fighting alongside our traders by advocating to Monash Council to pressure them to reconsider shutting these spaces down.
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