The “On Road Cafes”—where tables and chairs replace car bays—were trialled outside Foam cafe in Leederville for nine months, and were so popular they’ll now be rolled out across another six cafes.
But nearby cafe owner Debbie Saunders of 50ml is unhappy Foam’s ORC has been extended for another nine months, while her stretch of Oxford Street is not getting one.
Cr Ros Harley agreed it was unfair, saying the licences should be spread around.
“I am concerned about the lack of equity and the lack of transparency,” she told colleagues.
“[Foam] didn’t do us a favour, we collaborated with them on this and frankly they’ve got a great benefit out of it, [and] the street benefited. Let’s make it equitable.”
Cr Matt Buckels said that would be “trying to overmanage vibrancy”. Most agreed to let Foam keep a half-size ORC.
Councillors also decided to change the name from ORCs to the less awesome “parklets” so people understand they aren’t just for cafes, but can be set up outside laundromats and other businesses.
It’ll cost $30,000 to put the parklets in place for the next nine months.
Dudley Maier—who’d brought the idea back from San Francisco—wants to come up with a formal parklet policy so the approach isn’t so slap-dash.
“This whole process, I think we should ditch it and start again,” Cr Harley said. “We’ve made an absolute dog’s breakfast of this. This is, in my view, poor decision-making on the run.”
by DAVID BELL