Survey may seed spring awakening

October 21, 2021 BY

Cheers: Tim and Chris Matthews were joined by young Paddy and City of Ballarat CEO Even King in The Forge’s new marque last week. Photo: ALISTAIR FINLAY

RESULTS from a survey run by the City of Ballarat are in, and they say people want more outdoor dining options.

The findings include a desire for hospitality venues to have more access to fixed and temporary street furniture.

Launching the results of the survey inside The Forge’s new marque on Armstrong Street, City of Ballarat CEO Evan King said increased outdoor dining options could take a number of forms.

“We’re looking at all opportunities whether that’s parking spaces, laneways, whatever we can do to help increase business’ footprint,” he said.

“With the restrictions on numbers allowed indoors, somehow we’ve got to try and find extra space for businesses to be able to operate profitably.

“Obviously we have to balance pedestrian access and those sorts of things at the same time.”

However, the survey results are somewhat unsurprising.

Fifty-four responses were received to the questions, with 34 of them coming from within the hospitality sector yet Mr King backed the results.

“I think it’s a good representation of the hospitality sector,” he said.

“What’s important about the survey is that it’s given us an indication of what sort of support hospitality is looking for and what sort of infrastructure they need to help them.

“We’re certainly interested in working with retail, health and fitness. We want to support all business to be able to operate in a COVID safe environment.”

Tim Matthews owns a number of businesses along Armstrong Street including The Forge, 1860 Bakehouse, and Housey Housey.

With a need for increased outdoor dining spaces – especially under current density limits – as well as short and long term parking options for the bakery and takeaway food, he said a balancing act was required.

“You really need to talk to each trader and find out what works for them,” he said. “They know their businesses the best.

“In some cases it might be carparks or laneways. It’s really about coming up with a custom solution.

“We like the short, sharp takeaway parks, but sometimes they won’t work for hairdressers. It’s about coming up with a balance that suits the street.”

Figures from the municipality say total spending in the local economy in July was down 10 per cent on 2020, which in turn was down seven per cent on 2019.

City of Ballarat officers will now prepare a full report on the survey results for councillors to consider.

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