Q&As Out-door dining

Questions and Answers

The City of Maribyrnong, known for its foodie culture and love of celebrating, is creating more out-door dining opportunities for residents to safely enjoy the city’s restaurant and café scene in a COVID-19 environment. The information below includes explains more about the initiatives we are supporting such as parklets, opening streets to pedestrians for out-door dining and expanded footpath dining.

Parklets

In response to COVID-19 spatial restrictions, Maribyrnong Council had proposed a small trial of out-door dining opportunities – known as parklets – to assist our traders and communities struggling with physical distancing restrictions. We sought expressions of interest from traders to install these temporary alfresco seating areas – which involve repurposing a council owned parking bay into an extended out-door eating area. Given the overwhelming response and funding now provided by Government we are now able to significantly extend the opportunity.

What are parklets?

Parklets are re-purposed parking bays designed to create spaces instead of cars, in the City of Maribyrnong this will include repurposing parking bays to include seating for dining areas and such things as greenery and potentially bike parking facilities. With many residents still working from home car spaces are not being used as frequently, so bays re-imagined as a pedestrian space.

Why are parklets a benefit to the community?

The parklets enable expanded dining opportunities in the City of Maribyrnong for eligible and participating restaurants and cafes. This is particularly important as the ‘new normal’ in a COVID-19 environment requires that we remain 1.5 meters apart. They provide the capacity for increased trading that helps boost businesses financially and gives the community increased opportunities to interact.

How long will parklets be installed?

The parklets will be installed for three months on a trial basis with the possibility of extension up to six months at this stage.

What happens after 3 months?

Following your feedback we will re-evaluate the trail considering opportunities for businesses to extend the use for another three months. If a particular parklet could become permanent we would consult with neighbours first. Local laws and planning permit conditions would also need to be met. 

How can I provide feedback on the parklets?

A community survey will take place throughout the new out-door dining initiatives and can be found later in November on our consultation platform. The survey will be promoted on Council’s website and Facebook page. 

Who pays for and installs the parklets?

Acknowledging the loss of revenue for our local hospitality venues, the parklets for this trial are procured and installed by Council at no cost to the local business. This has been made possible through support from the Victorian State Government Outdoor Activation LGA grants. Parklets will be returned to council at the completion of the trial unless there is an extension of the project or traders purchase the parklets (subject to local laws and planning permit conditions). 

Where will the parklets be located?

Twenty-nine have been chosen across the City following application by local traders. Applications were required to demonstrate support from neighbours and businesses and sites had to meet a number of criteria, including passing a Road Safety Audit and being supported by a COVID-19 Safe Plan. Businesses may also work with Council on an ongoing basis to set up their own parklets on private land. 

What do parklets look like?

There are different parklet designs due to site specific conditions and to enable us to support as many applicants as possible. This takes into account safety aspects in relation to traffic, a more informal low cost style, installation of protective concrete blocks around parklets, where signage is required. In addition, ambiance preferences such as traders laying their own astro turf and installing planter boxes will influence the look of the parklets. 

In each instance traders will need to supply their own furniture such as chairs, tables and umbrellas. $5000 grants for furniture are being provided by the Victorian State Government.

How were the locations of the parklets decided?

An expressions of interest process for the Council delivered parklet trial was held mid-2020. Council received 41 applications which were shortlisted against eligibility criteria that ensures a safe and equitable distribution of the parklets across the city. A Road Safety Audit by an independent auditor was required and traders had to demonstrate support from their neighbours. 

A parklet can only be located in designated parking spaces that is:

  • on a street with a speed limit of 50km/hr or less

  • on a street with a straight road geometry ensuring uninhabited view lines for drivers

  • parallel or 90 degrees (angled parking may be considered)

  • on streets which is not owned by VicRoads

  • on streets which are not clearways

  • more than 10m from an intersection

  • more than 20m from a signalled intersection

  • a minimum of one parking space away from an intersection on the approach side and does not have utility access panels or storm drains within the parking space.

Can private proposals for parklets be considered?

Yes. Proposals from traders who wish to build and install their own parklets on Council land or private land are to be considered on a case by case basis taking into consideration amenity, safety and site-specific conditions such as impacts on residents, as well as the need to maintain social distancing and provide ease of access for pedestrians and essential vehicles. For further information email  UrbanPlanning@maribyrnong.vic.gov.au

Are parklets safe?

A road safety audit is undertaken on all parklet locations. Based on the audit a range of protective barriers are recommended to safeguard diners. In addition to road barriers, chevron signage, and reflective tape are applied along the edges of the parklet platform.

What about disability access?

All parklets will meet standard accessibility requirements.

 

Parklet information specific to traders

Will I be able to leave out my furniture overnight?

No, all furniture will need to be taken inside, just like any other furniture you may have had on the street. Please note: The business must consider safety risks associated with indoor storage of planter boxes and gas equipment. 

Does my business have exclusive use of the parklet?

The host business has priority use of the parklet for its customers during business hours, however the host must work with surrounding business and local residents to accommodate shared use where practical. Just like the footpath, it is public space. 

What about liquor licencing?

Your pre-existing licence will need to include extended areas. We will help you fast-track your liquor licence, by providing a letter of permission that can be submitted to VCGLR along with your application. 

What if the parklet is vandalised?

Traders who are selected for the trial must monitor the parklet during business hours, ensuring adequate and regular cleaning, and immediately report any damage to council. 

Who holds the public liability insurance?

Areas deemed to be Council property, including but not limited to street cafes, trading tables, waste management bins and the like are covered by Council’s Public Liability insurance. Public Liability insurance however must be held by traders to cover any negligent acts or omissions resulting from the conduct of their business activities and would include the areas within the parklets. It is essential that traders confirm with their Public Liability insurers that they have adequate coverage to include these extended areas of trade. 

What if I trial it for a month and decide it’s not working for my business? Can I then have it for less than 3 months?

The parklets are designed to be easily installed and easily removed. If you are not happy with the parklet you will need to advise Council in writing and the parklet will be removed. You would not be eligible for any further parklet funding from Council. 

What if I don’t want to have parklets near my business?

Council strongly encourages businesses to support each other, and with many trading restrictions in place as part of Victoria’s Roadmap for Reopening, the best support we can give to some businesses is allowing them more outdoor trading space. This is a temporary program, Council will evaluate the impact of the program to inform future decisions about initiatives like this. Options other than parklets are available to businesses such as extended footpath trading for neighbouring businesses.

 

Out door dining – temporary closure of streets/ laneways

What does the temporary closure of streets/laneways for out-door dining mean?

Council may consider temporary part or full street closures to provide opportunity for adjacent restaurants and cafes to expand their out-door dining services. All out-door requirements need to meet State Government health directives.

How does this initiative benefit the community?

It enables expanded dining opportunities in the City of Maribyrnong for eligible and participating restaurants and cafes. This is particularly important as the ‘new normal’ in a COVID-19 environment requires that we remain 1.5 metres apart. They provide the capacity for increased trading that helps boost businesses financially and gives the community increased opportunities to interact. 

For how long will this initiative be in place?

The initiative is expected to be in place for about six months. 

How safe is the initiative?

A road safety audit is undertaken on all locations. Based on the audit a range of protective barriers are recommend for the closure of the street/laneway to safeguard diners. In addition to road barriers, chevron signage and other options will be put in place for added protection. 

How can I provide feedback?

A community survey will take place throughout the new out-door dining initiatives and can be found later in November on our consultation platform. The survey will be promoted on Council’s website and Facebook page.

 

Footpath dining

What is extended footpath dining?

Businesses can expand their hospitality services onto footpaths, some may need to meet permit requirements.

Why is extended footpath dining a benefit to the community?

They enable expanded dining opportunities in the City of Maribyrnong for eligible and participating restaurants and cafes. This is particularly important as the ‘new normal’ in a COVID-19 environment requires that we remain 1.5 meters apart. They also provide the capacity for increased trading that helps boost businesses financially and gives the community increased opportunities to interact. 

How can I provide feedback on extended footpath dining?

A community survey will take place throughout the new out-door dining initiatives and can be found later in November on our consultation platform. The survey will be promoted on Council’s website and Facebook page. 

General questions

How are these programs funded?

The out-door dining initiatives have been funded by the Victorian State Government Outdoor Activation - Local Government Grants Program. 

Can general traders expand their footprint?

The State Government directive is focused on the hospitality industry at present. Questions about general trading should be directed to Council’s Business Unit email@maribyrnong.vic.gov.au

Where can I find more information?

More information email: email@maribyrnong.vic.gov.au