FREMANTLE’S Carriage Cafe has been granted a stay of execution.
The popular Esplanade park eatery’s lease ends in April 2019 and owner Zeynep Erturk had been told it wouldn’t be renewed, with the council instead looking to build and lease a $700,000 restaurant to George Kailis’s new venture Park Burgers (“Burgered Off”, Herald, October 14, 2016).
But councillors have had a change of heart and on Wednesday evening deferred a decision on ditching the carriage.
“I must admit I’ve got a soft spot for the Carriage Cafe, but it’s clearly not in the right location,” said mayor Brad Pettitt. “I’m open to relocating it and keeping it part of Fremantle’s story.”
Cr Ingrid Waltham wants the cafe to survive and says she “was hoping not to kill off a much-loved institution”.
Keeping the cafe at the reserve could prove tricky as Ms Erturk unsuccessfully applied to move into the park’s commercial hub.
Cr Jon Strachan worried that spending $700,000 to house Park Burgers was not a good use of ratepayers’ money.
“Healthy hamburgers are like clean coal — they don’t exist,” he said.
“It’s ironic that we want to spend a huge sum of money on a burger joint after we recently debated how to get more diverse hospitality in the city.”
Despite his concerns, the recommendation to approve the burger bar went through.
Dr Pettitt doesn’t want council to foot the entire bill and has asked officers to look into third party funding.
The venue is anticipated to provide an 8 per cent yield, which city staff say is a healthy return, but Cr Waltham argued the core business of council should not be property development.
Cr Dave Hume said he wanted to ensure parts of the venue were available to the public, including toilets and alfresco seating.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK