Survey supports more outdoor dining and activation of Ballarat’s CBD

Laneway and carpark activations, entertainment in the CBD and more outdoor dining options are some of the suggestions for bringing Ballarat to life as we inch closer to 70 and 80 percent milestones on the State Government’s Roadmap to Recovery.

A City of Ballarat survey to gauge how Council can support the extension of Ballarat’s dining footprint and reinvigorate the CBD received overwhelming support from the City’s hospitality industry. Thirty-four of the 54 responses were from local cafes, restaurants and eateries.

Submitters expressed a desire to activate the footpath space immediately outside their businesses as soon as possible, through additional infrastructure such as pull-down blinds and heaters, to more semi-permanent structures such as decks and marquees.

The survey also supported involvement of the entertainment/creative arts sectors to help attract more people into the CBD.

City of Ballarat CEO, Evan King said recent spending figures indicated how critical it was for Ballarat businesses to be prepared and able to operate at capacity within government prescribed density levels.

In July 2021, total spending across our economy was 10% lower than in July 2020 and 7% lower than July 2019. While dining and entertainment expenditure in Ballarat was $5.4million lower than 2019.

“Council has made a commitment to do whatever it takes to get our shops and restaurants back in full business-mode, and this feedback gives us a real sense of what is most beneficial right now,” Mr King said.

The City of Ballarat continues to work with business owners to deliver outdoor dining infrastructure across the municipality and is fast-tracking outdoor dining and footpath trading permits to make it easier for the hospitality and retail sectors to trade.

Businesses have until the end of October to apply for assistance under Council’s $1 million Community and Business Support Package.

A report on the community survey and proposed actions is being prepared for Council.

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