Boho Espresso has busy final weekend, now plays waiting game

Boho Espresso owner Donny Collins.
Boho Espresso owner Donny Collins.

NEARLY 300 customers flooded Scarborough’s Boho Espresso on the weekend after the owner announced he would shut the doors due to the foreshore redevelopment disruption.

Owner Donny Collins said he was waiting to hear from Planning Minister Rita Saffioti and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) at the time of going to print.

“I don’t want to lose the business but it looks like we don’t have staff for the weekends, as they have all found other jobs,” he said.

“You can’t put a figure on the goodwill we created in the community – it has gone from profitable business to non-existent.”

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Mr Collins said he wasn’t given fair warning by the MRA about the extent of the impact on his business, and construction boundary fences went up to the front courtyard of the cafe.

“On the surface, it was about supporting us but really there hasn’t been any answers,” he said. “There is no point in an offer of sparkly new buildings when there is no community at the heart of it.”

Mr Collins and other business owners met with the MRA last week but were left wanting answers about compensation and the possibility of reduced land tax.

Scarborough Sandbar owner Ben Randall said he was shocked business was so slow.

“We’ve just lost all our day trade. There’s no foot traffic. People aren’t driving in or visiting the beach because it effectively looks shut,” he said.

“The MRA need to recognise the businesses that have put the government in this position where they can invest. They need us here and they need to be accountable.”

MRA executive director project delivery Sean Henriques said they had been “extensively engaging” with the local community and businesses for the past two years.

“In reality it was always going to be a significant impact. There is $100 million being invested here,” he said.

Mr Henriques said MRA would be meeting with the State Government to discuss compensation for businesses and would inform them in the coming weeks.

Scarborough MLA Liza Harvey said news of the closure was “incredibly sad” and would like to see a formal compensation process carried out.

Ms Saffioti was contacted for comment.