Rockingham foreshore eateries want City to put them in the shade

Beach Fish and Chips owner Mark Schneider said the City was being “unreasonable” with foreshore business owners.
Beach Fish and Chips owner Mark Schneider said the City was being “unreasonable” with foreshore business owners.

TWO foreshore eatery owners are frustrated with the City of Rockingham over a bylaw that leaves patrons exposed to the hot sun.

The law is part of the City’s Health Policy No 6.6 Outdoor Eating Facilities in Public Places, 2.2 (a), which states a minimum clear footpath width of 1.5m must be provided directly adjacent to a food premises.

Beach Fish and Chips owner Mark Schneider said he cared about his patrons and wanted them to enjoy their food in comfort, so he moved the chairs and tables flush with his shopfront – the only area that is shaded.

He said it became an issue when City officers visited him late last month to tell him it was illegal to have the seating in the shade.

“They said it was blocking the walkway for pedestrians, even though there still is a 2m walkway past the shopfront,” he said.

“With no shade it gets so hot out there and as a result we are losing business.

“I have used umbrellas in the past but due to our exposed position the wind just blows them away, which become a hazard as the wind is that strong they become dangerous projectiles.

“They are being completely unreasonable.”

EyeScream Cafe owner Bon Thomas said he faced a similar problem.

“We have big issues with wind gusts here so it is not simply a matter of putting up umbrellas,” he said.

“I have spent $7000 on proper wind umbrellas but even they are no match for the wind gusts.”

Mayor Barry Sammels said the City had received complaints ‘about winding and obstructed pedestrian access’ in front of the eateries.

“The 1.5m distance stipulated in the policy provides an adequate clearance for everyone, including people with prams and wheelchairs, to navigate through busy alfresco areas,” he said.

He said shade was not considered when the regulation was first enacted.

“Under the policy, umbrellas and similar sun protection need to be secure and high enough to reduce the risk of injury to patrons,” he said.

He said there were no plans for permanent shade structures within that part of the foreshore redevelopment.

“We will be looking to amend the Outdoor Eating Area Policy and we will be recommending a change to the pedestrian access way for areas that will be affected by the redevelopment (specifically Railway Terrace and along the Boardwalk).

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