Queen Street survey sparks debate

A survey is being conducted to see what is more important to the public - alfresco dining or parking bays. Image Sophie Elliott.
A survey is being conducted to see what is more important to the public - alfresco dining or parking bays. Image Sophie Elliott.

Busselton businesses are divided over the possibility of alfresco dining on Queen Street.

A City of Busselton survey, which closes on April 18, is asking the public what they consider more important  - alfresco dining options on the street or preserving on-street parking.

The survey says the City has received proposals from several Queen Street businesses’ and landowners’ to set up alfresco dining.

Hillzeez Down South Surf Shops proprietor Glenn Callegari took to Queen Street on Friday, handing out a five-page letter to businesses.

The letter urged business owners to respond to the survey, so the City could grasp the expectations of those impacted by the loss of high turnover parking bays if alfresco dining was to go ahead. 

“It seems the City is unsure if discriminating among rate payers is a wise thing to do. Should they give away high turnover premium parking bays there for all businesses to create an extended dining footprint for a few food and beverage businesses,” the letter read.

“I find it alarming that local government see it as their role to facilitate a favourable outcome for one private enterprise over the outcomes of another.

“The target audience is anyone with an opinion, in region locals or out of region visitors. No investment exposure to the CBD required, no knowledge of any parking policy required.”

The view from Al Forno Café owner Hans van Diest, who has been in discussions with the City for 18 months on the topic, was vastly different.

“It is definitely something I would like to see and something that is very important to people who run a small café to have the exposure that alfresco dining would offer,” he said.

“Busselton town needs a bit of liveliness, Queen Street needs to be in focus and have as much of an emphasis on it as the foreshore has had. Right now, after 7pm it is dead.

“Alfresco dining would mean we could operate at night and if the option was available that is something we would definitely consider.”

Mr van Diest said he believed there was ample parking in the CBD.

“I’m sure residents and visitors would be happy to walk a few minutes to enjoy a meal out,” he said.

City of Busselton acting chief executive officer Paul Needham said the survey had already received a good level of response, with just under 300 submissions.

“The City will consider the outcomes of the survey before determining what further action to take,” he said.

“It is clear though, both from the survey results so far and from other discussions, that there are a diversity of views on this topic.  Importantly, it is clear that city centre landowners and retailers themselves do not all have the same view.”