By Sam Watson

INVERLOCH’S A’Beckett Street has been transformed into a hub of dining and entertainment and the locals and tourists are loving it.

The new outdoor dining ‘parklets’ were implemented on December 14 after the state government and the Bass Coast Shire Council teamed up with the Inverloch Tourism Association (ITA).

The council put money towards the set-up costs for the outdoor dining hub.

The ITA successfully applied for a state government grant for outside dining and part of those funds were also used for the set-up.

The parklets are fenced off with fake grass and dining tables, allowing hospitality businesses to operate at increased capacities in line with COVID-safe regulations.

The ITA put the proposal for outdoor dining in A’Beckett Street to the Bass Coast Shire Council last year.

When the plan was proposed, the ITA acknowledged with COVID-safety measures in place, dining and entertainment would be most suitable outdoors.

But it also gives businesses a better chance to cope with the heavy influx of visitors over the Christmas and New Year period.

ITA president Dom Brusamarello said they wanted to provide opportunities for traders to service the increase in tourist numbers and provide the best experience possible with restrictions in place.

After all traders in A’Beckett Street were consulted, their feedback was integrated into the layout plan.

Mr Brusamarello said the proposals were met with almost 100 per cent acceptance from traders.

ITA communications officer Gary Tayler was instrumental in coordinating the booming outdoor dining hub.

Mr Tayler is extremely happy with the way the hub has been set up and how it’s been received.

The parklets will be on A’Beckett Street until at least mid-February and if they are deemed successful there is potential for them to remain until after the Easter period.

Mr Brusamarello hoped it would become an annual event on A’Beckett Street.

The ITA also worked with the Inverloch Recreation Reserve committee to allow public parking around the reserve.

This supplemented the loss of car parks on the southern side of A’Beckett Street.

The council’s economic and business development team worked with the ITA in developing a traffic management plan which saw the implementation of one-way traffic in A’Beckett Street.

“We’ve had great response from the traders, which is evident in the popularity of the outdoor dining from both visitors and locals alike,” Mr Brusamarello said.

Rayna Berg, who owns The Bayside Lady restaurant in Inverloch, said it was an awesome initiative by the ITA.

“The outdoor dining has allowed me to service a lot more customers in a COVID-safe way and they’re loving it.”