THE City of Greater Bendigo is reviewing its outdoor dining code following a dispute with restaurant Masons of Bendigo.
The business will today pull down its new black picket fence after the council ruled it did not comply with the Outdoor Dining and Street Trading Code of Practice.
The code says restaurant barriers must be made of glass or canvas with steel frames, be open, and meet height requirements. Council planning and development director Prue Mansfield said the picket fence failed to comply because it was too high, made from the wrong material and closed in.
Several councillors told the Bendigo Advertiser they welcomed the review.
Cr James Williams said Masons had to comply with the code and shouldn’t have proceeded without a permit but its idea was right. “I’m sympathetic to Masons in terms of what they’re trying to achieve,” he said.
“We need to have a look at that and review the laws.
“As far as I’m concerned it can’t happen quick enough.
“I think we need to liberalise the rule and allow for some innovation.”
Cr Rod Fyffe said outdoor dining was growing in popularity and the council had encouraged people to be “a bit more adventurous” in what they were offering.
“The codes do need to be looked at on a regular basis and it’s timely at this stage,” he said.
“I’m sure there are other designs around worth considering too, whether it be height, colours, materials, textures... all that is worthy of consideration to make it a vibrant, safe and enjoyable experience.”
Cr Peter Cox said issues with Masons hadn’t forced the review to be undertaken.
“It’s something that’s been on the agenda for about 12 months,” he said.
“As a council we need to get on and do it and have some creativity with some local laws.”
Mayor Lisa Ruffell said the code was developed in 2008 following consultation with traders, who are now encouraged to have input into the review.
Cr Williams said he believed a report would be created by June.
Several Bendigo Advertiser readers said they were disappointed Masons had been forced to remove the fence, including Ian Treyvaud of Strathdale who said it had been a “bewildering” decision.