Planning Minister concerned over struggles faced by Scarborough businesses

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

Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has spoken out about the struggles faced by Scarborough businesses, but owners are still calling for compensation to cover losses from disruptions caused by the foreshore redevelopment.

Ms Saffioti said she had been in contact with local traders and had recently visited the redevelopment area.

“I continue to work closely with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) in an attempt to address concerns raised by local businesses,” she said.

Wild Fig Cafe owner Chris Burke said he had not heard from Ms Saffioti directly but a staff member had informed him she was in discussions with the MRA.

“This (the redevelopment) is driving us deeply into debt,” he said.

Mr Burke said losses incurred since April could add up to $300,000.

“I would like to see business owners compensated ( by the State Government), which dates back to whatever lost income they have seen since April,” he said.

“It would be good to see some regular support until the end of construction; it might be enough to bring Boho (Espresso) back from the dead.

“We’ve all got kids and mortgages. It has put us in a position where we have to work but we’re not making any money. It is a very difficult situation; if you can imagine trying to pay rent or mortgage, doing the job you do, but you’re just not getting paid for it any more.”

Cafe Boho Espresso was forced to close its doors after six years trading in the area due to a drop-off in business.

Owner Donny Collins said he was not sure where the compensation process was and he had not heard any updates since a meeting with the MRA earlier this month.

“At this stage we are closed until further notice,” Mr Collins said.

“I was open on weekends only but all my staff have found other jobs.

“Until I get some clear direction from them, I don’t know what is happening.”

The City of Stirling will investigate rates concessions for existing businesses in the redevelopment area at a May council meeting.

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