Parklets set up in time for summer

A depiction of what The Terrace will look like this summer. (supplied)

Ocean Grove’s main shopping street will get a drastic makeover next week.

Extended outdoor dining areas will be activated on The Terrace in time for the summer tourist season.

Work on the temporary installation, which will support more than 50 outdoor seats on The Terrace, will begin next week.

City of Greater Geelong said the work is weather dependent, but should take one to two days and will be carried out from 8pm to 8am.

The initiative aims to stimulate greater economic activity for the commercial precinct.

The city modified the layout of the new outdoor dining spaces following feedback from local traders.

The changes balance the needs of The Terrace’s businesses and maintain the existing levels of car parking, traffic and loading access, and public open space.

The parklets will be in place for a period of three months.

A review of the effectiveness of the initiative will be carried out in consultation with the traders and council will seek user feedback.

“We believe this activation will benefit the entire Terrace precinct by helping it become a more appealing place to spend time,” Greater Geelong economy, investment and attraction acting director Tim Ellis said.

“We have listened to businesses along The Terrace and modified the original plans based on their feedback.

“We are working quickly to put the installation in place to capitalise on the peak pre-Christmas and summer periods.

“I encourage traders and members of the community to let us know how the initiative is working so that it can be reviewed after the temporary period.”

The city released a draft concept plan in early November and called for feedback from businesses on The Terrace, between Presidents Avenue and Hodgson Street.

Of the 41 responses received, 61 per cent were supportive of the initiative.

This included non-hospitality businesses, who found it would have indirect benefits for the wider area by attracting more people and encouraging them to stay longer in the precinct.

Objections raised to the proposal included concerns about increased congestion, odours, litter, obscuring views of shops and obstructing the footpath.

Based on the feedback, the city updated the concept and relocated or removed parklets that were directly fronting the majority of non-hospitality businesses opposed to the initiative.

The scheme will see no loss of car parking or change to current traffic operations on The Terrace, council said.

The city developed the concept following the Victorian government’s commitment in mid-September that outdoor dining activities would be prioritised as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

It has secured government funding support through the Local Councils Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package.

Food and drink businesses are encouraged to operate outdoors as it is deemed a safer environment and less risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Under the ‘last step’ of the government’s roadmap for reopening, venues can seat more patrons outdoors than indoors under the ‘two square metre rule’.