Red tape holding back community events

Scarborough Beach Association chairman Wayne Bowen (far right) with Fabrizio Ginnelli and Gerardo Micco from Antica Gelateria Italiano, Ronyt Manna and Sam Hughes (Split Bean) at the 2018-19 Scarborough Sunset Markets launch. Picture: Martin Kennealey.
Scarborough Beach Association chairman Wayne Bowen (far right) with Fabrizio Ginnelli and Gerardo Micco from Antica Gelateria Italiano, Ronyt Manna and Sam Hughes (Split Bean) at the 2018-19 Scarborough Sunset Markets launch. Picture: Martin Kennealey.

RED tape is “no doubt” holding back people from running community events, says Scarborough Beach Association chairman Wayne Bowen.

The association is heading into its third year of running the Scarborough Sunset Markets and this year launched its inaugural winter markets at the foreshore.

Mr Bowen said gaining development approval was a four to five-month process involving a lot of time on paperwork.

“It stops you doing things. It makes your ability to be flexible very difficult… if something new comes along in five to six weeks, you can’t do it,” he said.

He praised Stirling Council’s decision last week to release a draft policy that would exempt market organisers from requiring development approval if they met listed criteria – despite it not benefiting the association, as Scarborough was under Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority planning control.

The policy will be advertised for public comment.

Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin said it was intended to make it easier and quicker for markets on private land to operate.

“The control of markets on public land would still be through the City’s event application process,” he said.

The association has to reapply annually for markets approval and other events it runs, including the yearly Carols at Scarborough, which Mr Bowen wants to see changed.

“When an organisation has proven its credentials… I think there should be some sort of acceptance that the organisation has been there and done that,” he said.

Stirling targeted another area of red tape when the council adopted a policy on July 2 allowing business owners to obtain a permit for street trading and alfresco dining rather than submit a development application.

Cr Irwin said it would help “add interest and liveliness” to commercial centres and make it clear what was allowed on footpaths.

He said the City was “always looking for ways to cut red tape and make it easier for small business to do business”.

“It will also help us achieve our aim of making the City’s community centres active and welcoming for locals and for visitors day or night and creating unique destinations across the City,” he said.

“Retailers along Beaufort Street have given us some really positive feedback already, saying that they think it is a win-win for business owners as it creates more useable areas and increases atmosphere and vibrancy along the City’s main streets.”

Stock image.

Other initiatives the City of Stirling says is busting red tape include:

The Vacancy Project: Joint Stirling, City of Vincent and Beaufort Street Network project matching short-term tenants with vacant commercial tenancies.

Become a Supplier: Online tool making it easier for small businesses to win non-tender City contracts.

Stirling Grants Finder: Online search for government and corporate grants on offer.

Planning Pre-Lodgement Advice: Free elective planning advice in writing or face-to-face available prior to application submission to make process smoother.

Business Survey: Biennial survey using feedback from businesses to identify areas the City can reduce red tape.

Alfresco Dining Fees: The City stopped charging alfresco dining fees in 2018-19.