Ipswich CBD and dArcy Doyle Place.
Ipswich CBD and dArcy Doyle Place. David Nielsen

Council could refund businesses for footpath dining fees

IPSWICH City Council could refund local businesses which have paid fees for footpath dining licences during this financial year.

In November the council resolved to consider waiving the fees for 2020-21 for all current, new and additional footpath dining to "encourage growth" in the COVID-19-ravaged hospitality industry.

It was driven by Division 2 councillor and accountant Nicole Jonic.

A report to the council recommends operators be fully refunded all fees paid for a licence in the 2020-21 financial year and any new applications not be charged at all.

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These recommendations will be voted on in Thursday's council meeting.

Revenue on existing footpath licences for 2020-21 is $9231.94.

There are currently only eight footpath dining businesses operating across Ipswich.

"(November's meeting) resulted in a discount of 25 per cent applied to new applications for a range of health and associated licences including footpath dining," the report notes.

"Should council wish to consider a total waiver of all fees associated with footpath dining, then there is no objection from officers, when it comes to implementing such.

"Council needs to consider however any precedent consideration when it comes to other types of licence holders and what opportunities they are being offered with respect to total waiver of fees."

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The council intends to make it "as easy as possible" for businesses to expand or start footpath dining by removing existing red tape.

"Extended footpath dining permits will make it easier for businesses to expand their seating onto footpaths and other areas," the report notes.

"The number of tables allowed per business shall not be limited, provided that a clear pedestrian zone, of 1.8m wide is maintained at all times."

"Public liability insurance of $20 million and with council as a listed interested party is

essential."

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.