CITY of Greater Bendigo councillors may vote on changes to the city’s outdoor dining policy at the next council meeting.
The council has been reviewing the policy with concerns from businesses about what is allowed under the code.
City of Greater Bendigo planning and development director Prue Mansfield said the policy had become outdated.
“The whole code needed a refresh,” she said.
“We did an analysis and found it had stood the test of time well for us.
“We have had pretty good outcomes in our city and lots of people have said they like the look of our city.
“The most mixed opinions are with some businesses saying they want protective barriers when it gets cold and windy.
“Some people are holding very strong opinions about barriers in the mall and permanent fixtures.
“Others are saying we just need to accept it’s sometimes too cold to sit outside and they don’t want those kind of structures with the beautiful look of our city.”
The code also came under criticism for the type of materials which could be used in restaurant barriers.
Under the council’ policy, barriers can only be made of glass or low steel frames with canvas barriers.
They must also meet certain height requirements so the space appears “open” to everyone on the street.
The issue caused problems earlier this year when Mason’s of Bendigo was forced to remove a picket fence which didn’t comply with council rules.
“Some people are very strongly supportive of the idea that if anything is going to be installed it must be of good quality,” Ms Mansfield said.
“Other businesses have said they just want what’s affordable and there are some views that there should be more variation as long as those designs are checked by council.
“We knew there was never going to be one single opinion.
“The council will need to make choices about the standards they want to set for our city.”
Ms Mansfield said councillors would have to consider the options and chose the most appropriate course of action.
“If it all goes to plan it will go to the next council meeting,” she said.