City of Perth on defensive over alfresco dining policies

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE City of Perth has gone on the defensive amid public debate on its alfresco policies.

Perth Council recently voted to reject a six-month trial of relaxed alfresco dining rules and a move to fast-track a review of the City’s policies from 2017 to late 2016.

In a statement issued last week, the City expressed a desire to “clarify recent media commentary regarding variations to alfresco licences”.

“In determining variation to alfresco licences – such as pop-up bars and outdoor food service areas – due consideration must be given to a broad range of factors, including compliance with local, State and Federal laws.

“The City’s alfresco laws provide guidelines to encourage high quality alfresco dining; safe and reasonable movement of pedestrians and vehicles on footpaths and roads respectively; amenity of surrounding ratepayers and residents; and aesthetics typical of a clean, attractive City.”

The statement said that while the City “strongly supports alfresco”, food and beverage requirements “are integral to minimise the risk of contamination and food-related illness”, and the City is bound by various laws when assessing applications.

“To meet requirements where traders have sought approval for pop-up service areas, structures may be required in some instances and these are assessed on a case-by-case basis.”

City traders may seek variations to their alfresco licences to allow for pop-ups, which has been accommodated as recently as November 1, on Melbourne Cup day.

Universal Bar owner Trevor Candido, who ran a pop-up bar at the front of Universal for Melbourne Cup day, previously told the Guardian Express his applications are usually rejected and it would be preferable if traders could apply for alfresco licence variation periods longer than one day.

Perth councillor Jemma Green urged the City to hold a six-month trial of relaxed alfresco rules and to bring forward a review of alfresco policies from 2017 to 2016. The review will be the first since 2000.