Business owners hit by $75m foreshore redevelopment works still chasing answers after MRA meeting

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

SCARBOROUGH business owners hit hard by the $75 million foreshore redevelopment were left wanting answers after a community meeting with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA).

Boho Espresso owner Donny Collins said he would look into getting compensation for the loss of business to construction works.

“I want answers from (landlord) Far East Organization and the MRA have said ‘leave it with us’, which is not good enough, they’ve had many years to get to this point,” he said.

“I spoke to them and said the value of my business has gone and we’ve lost that community value too; I’ve asked how they are going to make that up.

“I’m at the point where I am only staying open to give staff time to find jobs and myself time to get an answer from the people that can make a difference.”

MORE: Another Scarborough business falls: Boho Espresso forced to close its doors

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 in terms of the works program, there is $100 million being invested here, there was always going to be an impact on the ground and we have done our best up to this point to try and engage all the communication channels (with businesses).

“The intent from the outset was not to displace anyone.”

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

“We will continue to do everything we can in the meantime; anything we can do to keep Scarborough open for business,” he said.

Cordingley’s Surf owner Wayne Bowen said throughout what was usually the busiest summer period from November to April business had dropped off “across the board”.

“Cordingley’s the most, we are about 40 or 50 per cent down on people through the door which has converted into sales as compared to the same time last year,” he said.

“My other business the Surf Boardroom is out of the main construction area; that is doing better. We can tell that this construction area is directly affecting business.”

Scarborough Sandbar owner Ben Randall said he would be disappointed if business owners did not get answers shortly.

“(MRA) understand we want answers, just to see how passionate people are about Scarborough beach is so overwhelming, everyone understands we are all here for the same purpose and the MRA know that too,” he said.

“The passion in the room is the most important thing because that will get us through anything.”

Resident Anthony James said changing fence lines and boundaries confused visitors to the area.

Harvey says closures ‘incredibly sad’, wants to see businesses compensated

SCARBOROUGH MLA Liza Harvey said the news about the closure of popular cafe Boho Espresso was “incredibly sad” and would like to see a formal compensation process carried out.

“I enquired with the previous Planning Minister regarding compensation and during caretaker period was advised by the MRA that they were awaiting advice from the State Solicitor’s Office,” she said.

Mrs Harvey said she had contacted new Planning Minister Rita Saffioti for an update.

“Boho has been a great asset to the area, with Donny and the team providing a real benefit to the community and I am really disappointed to see them go,” she said.

“I can only hope that this makes the MRA aware of the impact on businesses in the area and ensures we see progression of a formal compensation process.”

The Stirling Times understands the Planning Minister will meet with the MRA this week to discuss options for businesses.

More to come.