Ronald Ngo and Lyly Phan from Rokeby Road cafe Architects and Heroes, Hay Street small bar Double Double owner Gav Bellinger and The Little Pantry in Shenton Park owner Aleks Kesic say they are struggling with the City’s alfresco dining restrictions.
‘If I had known this was the level of support, I would definitely not have chosen Subiaco,’ Mr Bellinger said.
‘With the declining economy in Subiaco and empty shops everywhere, most likely a direct result of the City sitting on its hands, I would probably consider leaving.’
Ms Kesic said that although she was glad the council was working to change the laws and give more flexibility to alfresco and street trading, it was ‘too little, too late’.
‘I can only imagine how difficult it is for businesses not so lucky to be as successful as we are who are struggling to survive plus deal with such narrow-minded, out-of-touch people at the City,’ she said.
Musical chairs costing business
Architects and Heroes caf� owners say the City of Subiaco cut their alfresco licence by 20 per cent last month, just three days after they set up expensive new tables and chairs.
Ronald Ngo said the City demanded they remove four chairs after receiving 16 complaints, despite admitting that planning staff had incorrectly marked out the alfresco area in the first place.
‘We’re in a stand-off because the council won’t give us evidence for these complaints,’ Mr Ngo said.
‘For us, you only need to look at the City of Perth for both legal and common sense; they have a 600mm walkway clearance for alfresco while Subiaco has 2m.’
Mr Ngo’s partner Lyly Phan said the council visited the caf� and discussed their plans ‘right down to the colour of the furniture’ to ensure they had ticked every box before applying.
Subiaco chief executive Stephen Tindale said a person with disabilities and a pedestrian with a pram were among the complainants.
‘I am prepared to look at compensation for extra cost incurred by not marking the area properly, as that was our responsibility,’ Mr Tindale said.
‘The removal of four seats has eased the problem, but whether it’s sufficient remains to be seen.
‘Making alfresco easier is all part of a discussion council will have this month.’
Double Double owner Gav Bellinger said he had been waiting a month for the City to send him the invoice for his alfresco area.
‘I follow them up about three times a week because I need that piece of paper for my alfresco area liquor licence,’ Mr Bellinger said.
‘It’s very frustrating because this is happening after already waiting three to four months for the City to approve my change of use.
‘It has cost me $2000 a week in excess rents, excess staff and excess stock for every week that I don’t have my extended licence.’
The Little Pantry owner Aleks Kesic said it was common knowledge within the hospitality industry that no one ‘in their right mind’ would open in Subiaco.
‘The City has cost me thousand and thousands of dollars without so much as a hint of regret,’ Ms Kesic said.
‘They should be thanking me for activating a once dead zone into a vibrant community hub, not making it so hard that at times I have wanted to shut my doors and walk away.’
See opinion: Alfresco is in the in-thing to do