Al fresco farce

A MOVE by Cr Reece Harley to stop the City of Perth charging cafes thousands of dollars a year for alfrescos has been shot down.

Only Cr Jemma Green and James Limnios supported Cr Harley’s motion, with lord mayor Lisa Scaffidi, Jim Adamos, Janet Davidson, Judy McEvoy, Keith Yong and Lily Chen voting against it.

Cr Harley says the city should be encouraging alfresco dining to activate streets and jazz-up the town, and that the large fees could cripple a small business.

The owners of Partisan, on Royal Street in East Perth, pay council around $4000 a year to put out tables and chairs at Claisebrook Cove.

• Perth councillor Reece Harley, and Partisan co-owner Luke Brandis, who is being charged thousands of dollars a year to put chairs and tables outside his cafe. Photo by Steve Grant

The city collects around $275,000 a year in alfresco fees by charging businesses an annual fee of up to $150 per square metre, with less busy areas getting slugged around $115 to $130.

Cr Harley says the city should keep the $125-a-year assessment and inspection fee to cover its costs, but scrap the hefty square metre charge.

He says fellow councillors, “might sneeze at $4000 because it doesn’t mean much to them, but to a small business owner running a single coffee machine cafe it can be a lot of money. A lot of small businesses may only just be able to pay themselves a salary.”

Cr Harley first proposed the idea two years ago, and since then, Vincent and Bayswater councils have both done away with similar charges.

Vincent mayor Emma Cole said while it had impacted the amount of revenue collected for the budget, she had “no regrets” over scrapping its alfresco fee as it’d encouraged traders to activate local streets.

Previously, Bayswater council charged cafe owners $25.60 for every chair they wanted to put out, and a $147 application fee. Both charges were scrapped in the middle of last year.

by DAVID BELL

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