Extended outdoor dining

Item 8.3 on the agenda at the council meeting on 1st June 2021 considers an extension to outdoor dining.

Image credit: Agenda for 1st June 2021

Since October 2020, council has spent or foregone $3.4m on assistance to small business, including:

  • $1m of waiving of footpath trading fees,
  • $1.4m of other support,
  • $0.4m of forgone parking revenue, and
  • $0.6m on leasing bollards for parklets.
Image credit: Agenda for 1st June 2021
Image credit: Agenda for 1st June 2021


The officer report proposes to reinstate footpath trading fees, and to extend footpath dining (parklets) with a cost recovery model, meaning that fees would only offset costs and foregone revenue. If a single parking bay occupies 14 m2, then the proposed fees of $2,250 to $5,000 per year are equivalent to 44 to 98 cents/m2/day.

Image credit: Agenda for 1st June 2021

There are also some road or laneway closures for outdoor dining, that are not considered parklets. These are proposed to be charged at 77 cents per square metre per day, with an initial discount of 50% (to 38 cents/m2/day) and a cap of $75 per day. This brings the cost for these areas down below the lowest cost of 44 cents/m2/day for parklets.

Image credit: Agenda for 1st June 2021

Our view

Streets Alive Yarra applauds council for extending significant, multi-million dollar support to small business during COVID, including the temporary outdoor dining program.

We support the officer report, analysis and recommendations, including the introduction of fees that are reflective of the market value of alternative uses, such as on-street parking. Businesses will be able to decide for themselves whether their outdoor dining area makes commercial sense, and businesses that do not benefit from outdoor dining will no longer be subsidising competitors who do.

We hope that council can extend this methodology to further reforms of how we manage on-street parking.

Published 30th May 2021