There could be more outdoor dining parklets down the track in the Port Macquarie town centre.
It comes after a parklet trial. Parklets see car parking spaces repurposed to help cafes and restaurants meet the need for more outdoor dining areas.
The trial resulted in two outdoor dining parklets in Horton Street allowing customers to enjoy alfresco dining at Reyhana Turkish Restaurant and the Ritz Complex.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council will offer both parklet leaseholders the opportunity to renew their leases.
Another step involves the development of a parklet policy to encourage low-cost, short-term parklet installations.
The structures would be easily relocatable to further activate the Port Macquarie town centre.
Resident Steven Miles told the Port News that the parklets added to the vitality of the streetscape.
"It adds to the night economy of the CBD," he said.
"I have spoken to many tourists and they all love this outdoor eating in this part of town. It's a real plus for them."
Mr Miles said more outdoor dining parklets would contribute to the vitality and attractiveness of the streetscape.
A parklet policy will be developed for the council's consideration based on low-cost, short-term installations that are easily relocatable.
Council director Melissa Watkins said the council heard the feedback from businesses that the parklets were very expensive.
She said the council thought it would look to an alternative used in other local government areas, with the ability to be packed up and moved easily, or changed or embellished.
Mayor Peta Pinson raised giving the existing parklet leaseholders the chance to renew their leases based on the council's standard outdoor dining lease on a month to month basis.
She said businesses had endured hardships, citing the bushfires, flooding and the COVID pandemic.
"This is going to take a long while for our businesses to bounce back," Cr Pinson said.
"It is going to take a long time for our state to bounce back, and our country as a whole, but we are optimistic people.
"The thing is I don't want to burden businesses with onerous leases and who knows what the future might hold as far as innovation and visionary projects into the future for our eating areas.
"I just want to be able to offer them an opportunity to take advantage of the parklets, if they so choose to continue, but not lock them in on a contractual lease."
Cr Geoff Hawkins asked a question of staff as to whether a month by month lease may be a negative, due to the parklet construction cost, as businesses were looking for a longer term commitment.
He said the motive of trying to potentially protect lessees from a negative change to circumstances was commendable.
Ms Watkins said it may provide more certainty if the businesses were able to enter into a longer term lease.
Cr Pinson said there was not a large uptake of the parklets under the trial with businesses identifying affordability as a major reason why they didn't proceed.
"We never know what the future holds," she said.
"I really don't want to burden any of our business at this time, if anything I want to support them, hence the reason for the month to month basis."
The councillors agreed to offer the existing parklet leaseholders the opportunity to renew their lease on council's standard outdoor dining lease for a period of not less than one month.
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