A NEW operator of the State Coal Mine’s cafe is ready to start, but Parks Victoria hasn’t sorted the lease agreement, meaning valuable custom was lost at the long weekend.
There’s no guarantee it will be sorted by Easter, either, infuriating volunteers at the coal mine who fear visitors won’t come back.
Sheila Ormerod said the previous lease holder gave notice back in November that she would not continue.
That lease expired on March 3.
“There’s someone ready and keen to take it over but Parks Victoria hasn’t arranged a new lease,” Mrs Ormerod said last week.
“We’ve got a long weekend coming up and Easter’s not far away and there’ll be no food or drink or ice cream.
“We’ve just had a group from Monash University through and Sale College is coming, but we’ve got nothing to offer them.
“We’ve put an urn in for tea and coffee but there are no refreshments at all.”
Mrs Ormerod said the lease agreement had nothing to do with the local Parks Victoria management. The problem was with head office.
“We need to put some pressure on to get the new lady in ASAP.
“So many visitors expect to come down her and have a meal, but we as volunteers can’t help them.
“We’ve worked so hard to get the coal mine back up and running for tourists. We’d hate to see the reputation damaged.”
In a statement, Parks Victoria said it “is currently in a transition phase with the new café operator at the State Coal Mine”.
“Parks Victoria is working promptly to ensure a vibrant café and visitor centre operation at the site.
“We will not have any food and beverage available for sale in the café area for a limited time.
“However, visitors can certainly check out the fabulous cafes, restaurants and take-away outlets nearby in the township of Wonthaggi,” the spokesperson said.