Sidewalk shop stops

FOOTPATH displays in the Dandenong CBD will be banned from 4 March, despite concerns from traders it will cost them business.
City of Greater Dandenong councillors at their 11 February meeting resolved to implement a new code of practice for footpath trading activity, to be reviewed in two years.
In late 2010 councillors asked for advice on how to better manage displays on footpaths, with particular reference to the revitalised Dandenong Central Activity District (CAD).
There was concern that current displays might detract from streetscapes created under the revitalisation program, so the proposal first came to council last August.
“It is seen as essential that council policy and practice support and enhance the new image of the CAD,” the council report said.
“The proposed policy minimises any detriment to traders and is supported by existing programs aimed at assisting traders to improve the appearance and attractiveness of their businesses.”
Councillor John Kelly said the council had received many requests from pedestrians about restricting footpath activities and the decision followed much thought and consultation.
“I think this is a move forward for the city,” he said.
He said he knew the traders weren’t happy but believed the move would improve Dandenong’s image and benefit them.
“They do rent the shop. They don’t rent the footpath,” he said.
Cr Sean O’Reilly said the changes would stop shopkeepers “putting things in the middle of the footpath like an obstacle course.”
“This does not improve the shopping experience, which is what we want to do,’ he said.
“This will increase the number of people coming to shop.
“Overall this will be a great benefit to traders and the community in general.”
But last year 48 traders signed a letter to the council saying reduced parking resulting from the Lonsdale Street revitalisation was already affecting businesses, and a ban on footpath displays could see many close.
“The council decision is going to attack and negatively influence the already struggling small businesses in this area,” Two Up Shop owner Qiang (Mark) Li said.
“We have been here for two and a half years and the business has been here for more than 10 years and we have always had a display.
“For shops like ours, it is really important to have street displays and if it’s not allowed we will have to move.”