Dining policy: Voice of community promotes change

MASONS of Bendigo owners are heartened that the voice of the community can make a positive change. 

The City of Greater Bendigo has changed its outdoor dining code to allow for greater flexibility, following heated debate this year regarding an outdoor barrier at the Queen Street restaurant. 

Owners of Masons of Bendigo, Sonia and Nick Anthony, will now apply for a permit to reinstate their black picket fence, which was removed earlier this year due to council regulations. 

The business did not have a permit to erect the picket fence, which was 30 per cent too high, made from the wrong material and was too enclosed. 

A review of the dining code followed, with council this week adopting revised, more flexible requirements. 

Editorial: Code change food for thought

Mrs Anthony says the outcome is a win for small business in Bendigo. 

"Hopefully it will open up lots of options for creative dining in the CBD and make people realise things are possible," Ms Anthony said. 

"It's been a good opportunity for council to show it is proactive by asking for small business' feedback and it has taken the stigma away that it's them versus us."

Mrs Anthony said the community had fully supported the black picket fence and had made their voice known. 

"Council quickly recognised the need to review the code and allow for flexibility," she said. 

"We understand there have to be requirements for safety and amenity purposes. 

"But restaurants have to be able to stand out and continue the feel of their restaurant outside. 

"Not many people have sat outside since we removed the fence which just proves the benefits of it."

She said Masons would apply for the permit early in the new year, and hoped it would be a smooth process. 

Councillors this week praised the revised code, which also includes amendments to umbrellas, display of goods and advertising. 

Cr Rod Campbell said it was a clear case of listening to the community.

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