Outdoor Dining Is Here to Stay
Introduced in October 2020 as a temporary measure to support the hospitality sector, the Outdoor Dining Program provided an opportunity for traders to increase their footprint and residents their social connection to mitigate social distancing restrictions during COVID.
A total of 71 car parking spaces were repurposed to facilitate the establishment of 103 parklets and pop-up parks across the City. The greatest concentration can be found in Footscray, Seddon and Yarraville.
We’ve heard many in our community express a desire for these outdoor dining spaces to become a permanent feature. This includes more than a thousand outdoor dining patrons who supported an extension to the program to at least April; and nearly 3000 Yarraville residents who sought to have the Ballarat Street Pop-Up Park retained.
Given the popularity of these pandemic pop-ups, Council has drafted a set of criteria to guide the delivery of permanent installations as part of a draft Outdoor Dining Policy, which proposes the:
- Introduction of fees after 1 July 2023 for the use of public or road space
- This is proposed as a per square metre figure allowing for balanced equitable usage based on the occupied floor space.
- Aligning fees for outdoor furniture with the existing fee structure for footpath dining according to the number and size of table and chair sets proposed.
- Costs associated with the construction and maintenance of parklets to be borne by the business owner.
- This recognises Council does not provide direct financial support to businesses that do not have outdoor dining.
- Parklets to be generally managed by the host business, including watering plants and rubbish removal.
- Council provides support in repairing any damages, removal of graffiti or tagging and any drainage issues.
- Businesses would need to demonstrate near neighbours have been consulted prior to any permanent parklet being approved.
Outdoor Dining Design Guidelines will provide clear, concise advice on all aspects from footpath occupation to roadway/laneway occupation to ensure public safety from permanent installations.
The Outdoor Dining Program was delivered with the support of an initial State Government grant of $500,000 in 2020 and a second grant of $500,000 in 2021 supporting the extension and expansion of the program.
Council has resolved that all existing outdoor dining installed as part of the this Program can remain in place until 30 November 2022, to allow time for the Policy to be enacted.
The community conversation has now closed. We will review what you told us and will provide a report back to Council shortly.