Colac Otway working with businesses on innovative outdoor dining opportunities
September 24, 2020
As regional Victoria reopens, Colac Otway Shire is working to make it as easy as possible for hospitality businesses to introduce or expand outdoor dining and is inviting ideas from traders and the community.
Colac Otway Chief Executive Peter Brown said Council has been in contact with businesses throughout the COVID19 situation and understood the importance of getting businesses back open and maximising the number of diners within the current restrictions.
“The State Government has provided $250,000 to assist Council facilitate outdoor dining across the shire however we are also advocating for the government to simplify the statewide planning process for outdoor dining,” Mr Brown said.
“While the funding guidelines have not yet been released, Council understands the grant can be used for costs associated with implementing outdoor dining such as increased waste management and cleaning costs, waiving of fees and charges associated with permit applications, traffic management and minor civil works.
“We encourage hospitality businesses to think about use of spaces that may not traditionally be used for outdoor dining. It may be possible to expand outdoor footpath dining to outside a neighbouring business, provided they receive written consent from their neighbours and comply with other requirements around pedestrian access and safety.
“Council officers have begun speaking with Apollo Bay businesses over the past week and understand that Apollo Bay has space constraints that might require more innovative approaches to outdoor dining. Responses to date indicate there are Apollo Bay businesses interested in extending their outdoor dining areas into car parks adjacent to their properties and Council is investigating how this can be safely achieved and we will continue discussions with the community and traders.
“Some businesses have also indicated that they are supportive of more tables and chairs on the Apollo Bay foreshore for takeaway dining. Council has had initial conversations with the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority about this, and will continue these discussions.
“Colac Otway Shire is confident there are opportunities for outdoor dining across the shire whether it’s along footpaths, the temporary use of laneways, open space, adjacent car parks or private car parks. Council is also mindful of making sure that the approach to outdoor dining doesn’t impact other traders and community amenity.
“I encourage any hospitality business considering expanding their outdoor dining to contact our Local Laws team to explore options,” Mr Brown said.
“Our officers will work with businesses to create the most viable and safest option, and process applications as soon as possible.”
*Under the Third Step of Victoria’s roadmap (where regional Victoria is now, as of September 24), hospitality businesses can serve customers outdoors. There is a cap of 50 people seated outdoors per venue, and a two square metre rule must be applied. See for more information here.