INVERLOCH’S COVID-19 street dining project has been hailed a success with many calling for it to be extended until Easter.
However, Inverloch Tourism Association’s (ITA) Gary Tayler has confirmed A’Beckett Street returned to normal on Monday, February 8 with marquees and road incursions being removed.
The south side of the road was blocked to traffic last December to allow for outdoor dining parklets in a collaboration by the ITA and Bass Coast Shire Council to allow hospitality businesses to cater for larger numbers.
Mr Tayler said the association would like to thank residents and visitors for their understanding and acceptance of the need to both assist local businesses and provide a safe workable COVID-normal environment.
He said a proposal to retain some parklet areas in parking spaces was still in the planning stage.
“This summer was really to save our businesses,” Mr Tayler wrote on Facebook.
“And seriously, they needed saving, some were really struggling. The future will be decided by the community.
“Bass Coast Council have been awesome with their help. Council officers should be congratulated!”
Calling for feedback on the scheme on Facebook, some people commented it had been inconvenient for older people with walking aids, while others praised the use of the recreation reserve for car parking.
There was strong support for suggestions to extend the parklets until Easter, however, Mr Tayler said regulations prohibited fixing permanent barriers to the road and required daily inspections of the temporary barriers made it too expensive to continue.
“It’s a great idea but seriously not permitted,” he said.
Shar McKenzie wrote on Facebook it had been “a great initiative for the holiday period, I really hope it helped local businesses serve extra patrons”.
June Laycock said the summer format worked well and could possibly be needed again next summer.
“Thank you to all, especially Bass Coast Council, for everything, building the structures and cleaning them out early mornings, to the… association for working with all the community. Well done, great success.”
Melinda Meilicke said she loved it as a tourist who spends a month in the area each summer.
“It meant we could get a table at any venue whenever we booked,” Melinda wrote.