Spreading Christmas cheer to struggling Ramsgate beach business owners

Pain: The former construction works at the Ramsgate beach shopping strip. Picture: John Veage
Pain: The former construction works at the Ramsgate beach shopping strip. Picture: John Veage

Ramsgate beach business owners could have some relief from tough trading conditions under a proposal put forward to Bayside Council.

Business owners have reported losses of up to 50 per cent after the revitalisation project to update the shopping strip went nine months over deadline.

The construction delays, traffic changes, and lack of parking kept customers away and saw some businesses close.

Now, a motion has been put forward to try and ease some of the pain.

Bayside Councillor Ed McDougall put forward a motion at Wednesday’s council meeting that would see the beachside suburb have a special focus in the lead-up to Christmas.

That would include a series of festive activities and events as well as the installation of a Christmas tree that would encourage people to visit the shopping strip.

A proposal to waive the footpath trading fees for the 2018 calendar year was another idea put forward in the motion.

The motion was supported by several councillors including Cr James Macdonald and Cr Michael Nagi.

‘’I think it’s important that we assist these business owners and help revive that area,’’ Cr Macdonald said.

‘’I think it’s a great initiative and we need to help any way we can.’’

‘’That’s the least we can do after the disastrous construction there,’’ Cr Nagi said.

‘’The impact it had on the business owners- I think some of them went broke or suffered financially so in the spirit of Christmas I think it’s the best thing we can do is to give them a nice environment.’’

The motion will now be considered by council staff before a final decision.

The motion had mixed reviews from business owners.

Sylvia Guirguis from The Centre Pharmacy said an earlier push by council in October had little effect.

In October the council put on several events including a ice-skating rink and children’s activities to entice shoppers back.

‘’Everything they’ve done so far hasn’t really done anything,’’ she said.

‘’It’s all talk at the moment.

‘’Waiving the fees is something positive- it would be great for some of the cafes that are almost empty now.’’