Whyalla City Council is aware of community interest in the closure of the Beach Café and is keen to reiterate its reasoning behind the decision - a decision it had a legal obligation to make - and seek community interaction and feedback.
Below you will find the latest news regarding this decision; a number of relevant documents; as well as an extensive Q&A in response to a number of queries received.
Foreshore Café Community Survey
In response to community feedback, Whyalla City Council has released a survey enabling residents to have their say on the future of the foreshore café facility over the short-to-medium term.
An independent social and media research company, McGregor Tan, has been commissioned to conduct the survey on Council’s behalf.
The survey will gather more detailed information about the community’s potential use of the facility and will canvass views from the wider Whyalla community regarding the options for its ongoing use.
Mayor McLaughlin reassured the community that Council is keen to work collaboratively on the future of the foreshore, with the survey only one of the steps in a comprehensive community consultation process over the coming months.
Council acknowledges that the decision to close the café in order to comply with legal requirements for health, food preparation, safety and building regulations, has disappointed a number of residents.
The key focus now is what the community wants from that facility in both the short and long term as council prepares to conduct extensive community consultation from next month on the Foreshore Master Plan, looking at the future of the entire precinct.
The survey can be completed by following this link: SURVEY
Other options for completing the survey include:
Scanning the QR code below
Picking up a hard copy from Council locations:
- Civic Building
- Whyalla Public Library
- Whyalla Child Care Centre
- Whyalla Visitor Centre
Phoning 1300 533 362 (weekdays from Wednesday 27 January 2021 between 10am-4pm)
The survey will be available until midnight on Sunday 7 February.
If you would like to provide feedback on any Council issue, here’s how you can do it:
Statement of Position
The Whyalla City Council exists to serve and advance the interests of the Whyalla community.
This commitment is underpinned by decision-making that is ethical, moral and lawful.
The decision to close the Beach Café was a difficult but legally necessary decision in which the Council considered, weighed and discussed the interests of the parties directly involved.
In the end, Council was compelled to close the Café because it does not (and is unable to easily) meet legal requirements for health, food preparation, safety and building regulations. In its current condition, it poses immediate risks to the health and welfare of patrons, the tenant, staff and visitors.
Council, as the owner of the building, is legally liable in the event of a serious illness or adverse incident to any of those persons. This, in turn, exposes Council’s ratepayers to potentially significant financial risk.
The Council decision was primarily based upon the fact that, at law and as a responsible public authority acting in the best interests of its ratepayers, it could not allow this risk to continue. It was required to intervene and act.
Part of the totality of Council’s considerations was the cost that would be borne by ratepayers to bring the building into compliance with health, food, safety and building codes. It is estimated that this would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars of ratepayer funds. This is prohibitive; particularly for an outdated building in an area that is part of the Foreshore Master Planning considerations for community and public use.
Council is obliged to spend the public money with which it is entrusted wisely, in the interests – and to the benefit – of its community.
Therefore, Council resolved that the Café operation cease because it is in serious breach of health, food, safety and building codes and could not satisfy those codes without substantial and unsustainable expense.
Council also considered that it would be manifestly unfair to expect the current tenant to make a significant financial contribution to works required to enable the Café to continue trading, particularly in a building they lease. There were also potential liabilities for the tenant in continuing to trade in a facility that failed to meet all legal standards.
Council’s preference is for all its deliberations to be public. The only information withheld in this instance, therefore, is that which has the potential to compromise the commercial and legal interests of the tenant/operator, Mr Nik Petropoulos. This is recognised in the Local Government Act.
Council accepts and understands that its decision disappoints the operator and some in the community; and acknowledges that many have enjoyed the Beach Café over years past. The decision is, of course, no reflection on Mr Petropoulos.
The Council resolution recognised that it could not in clear conscience fail in its responsibility to safeguard the public interest and uphold health, food, safety and building codes that it regulates and enforces – in accordance with various Acts of Parliament – in establishments throughout Whyalla.
Council’s decision is driven solely by these legal obligations and no other considerations.
To explain the rationale and the processes that the Council must follow and to explore future options for the building, Council will convene a community forum for a ‘face-to-face’ conversation with interested members of the community at the Westland Hotel’s Oasis Room from 6pm Wednesday 13 January.
Council is committed to foreshore amenities that reflect the aspirations and needs of the Whyalla community and visitors to our City. To reflect this, consultation on the Foreshore Master Plan will begin in February and is expected to conclude in April / May. Council invites and welcomes the community’s contribution and ideas to this process.
Click here to view document.
Background Report on Beach Café Closure
Whyalla City Council is keen to share details about its reasons and reasoning in closing the Beach Café. Please click here to download our extensive background report, which also outlines the next steps and addresses the queries and concerns it has received.