SCARBOROUGH businesses say locals stayed away during the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships last week but the thousands of interstate lifesavers in town kept trade ticking over.
El Grotto manager Mauricio Cury said while the athletes were less inclined to drink alcohol, food sales boomed.
“We actually had a bigger week in food, it was just slower on the drinks side of the venue,” he said. “The kitchen was actually busier so it didn’t change anything for us.”
The Sandbar owner Ben Randall said the event was fantastic for the area, but affected his morning and lunch trade.
“It’s been predominantly the surf club people; we’re certainly not seeing our regulars,” he said. “I think the roads being closed have certainly affected us because no one can get in.”
Mr Cury agreed road closures was the likely reason locals stayed away.
“They like the comfort of just driving here and parking as close as they can,” he said.
Cordingley’s Surf manager John Mackean said the area had been better prepared to host the Aussies this year compared to in the past.
“There’s a lot more people around and staying in Scarborough,” he said. “I’m sure it’s a lot to do with the end of the construction and the extra things they’ve put on.
“Extra vendors and coffee shops that are open before 9am, little food trucks and things like that have been really good and are keeping people down in the area for our business.”
Accommodation providers like Rendezvous Hotel, Seashells and Quest Apartment Hotels confirmed they were full last week.
City of Stirling community development director Trevor Holland said traffic management strategies, which included road closures and shuttle buses from nearby Abbett Park, had minimised disruption.
However, Scarborough resident Alan Cox said the event and road closures had inconvenienced locals and suggested The Aussies was of little value to the people of Scarborough.
“I have never seen more than five vehicles at the ‘overflow’ carpark at Abbett Park,” he said. “These contests are only of interest to participants and their long suffering parents.”