Dining to rival Europe

Adrian Davey (far right) with other traders prepare for outdoor dining. (Joe Mastroianni). 217700_01

Goya Dmytryshchak

Hobsons Bay could be transformed with European-style dining plazas as 28 shopping precincts are earmarked for road closures or on-street dining when COVID restrictions ease.

Hobsons Bay council is working with businesses across the municipality to extend outdoor trading areas in preparation for restrictions easing.

Some roads will be closed to traffic as shopping strips and on-street carparks are transformed into plaza-style dining areas.

Expected locations include Harrington Square and Pier Street in Altona, Nelson Place in Williamstown and Aviation Road in Laverton.

Chief executive Aaron van Egmond said 28 precincts had been identified that could have outdoor dining and trading areas and businesses could request carparks be used for dining or trade.

“We’re working closely with our business community and making the process as simple as possible to create a special experience for customers to dine and shop outdoors in Hobsons Bay’s diverse cafes, restaurants and retail locations,“ he said.

“Expanding the outside trading area enables businesses to serve more customers while meeting social distancing requirements.

“As the warmer weather approaches, we can’t wait to welcome back residents to dine outdoors and to attract customers from across Melbourne.

“Hobsons Bay outdoors will be the place to be.”

The council is also working with businesses to share trading areas and footpath space.

Trader head Ilch Mickovski, speaking on behalf of Altona Village Traders Association, Laverton Traders Association, Newport Traders Association and Williamstown Chamber of Commerce, said businesses were working with the council to rapidly implement changes.

“Everyone’s been isolated at home … people are really itching to get out,“ he said.

“This format is going to allow people wanting to get out and wanting to go have a coffee and sit down and enjoy the day.“

Mr Mickovski said the challenge for the council was to execute the measures in time for restrictions easing.

“This is a great initiative that most traders and the community are looking forward to, especially leading into warmer weather,“ he said.

“People want to be outside; they’ve been isolated and they want to freely get to their coffee shop and actually enjoy a day out.

“So, I think there’s a good opportunity; not just for businesses, I think for people’s wellbeing.

“People have had their lifestyle taken away.

“You go through Italy, you go through any parts of Europe, you’re going to get the coffee culture lifestyle.

“People want to be seen outside, the people want to be seen having a coffee, catching up with someone.

“It definitely resonates from Europe. You walk through Milan, you want to be seen having a coffee.

“There’s a lot we can learn from those guys.“