Lagoon cafe has new operator

Subject to public submissions, which close on Monday October 24, the City of Wanneroo says it has a new operator for the Yanchep Lagoon Café.

THE City of Wanneroo has selected a new operator for the Yanchep Lagoon Café with an expectation the café will reopen for the busy summer months.

But the city’s decision on September 13 to reject all submissions for a long-term lease of the café and to now accept a six-month lease by  Bernardo Alalid, who is the owner-operator of the Orion Café at the Westfield Whitford City shopping centre has baffled the former tenants.

Peter and Sue Morgan, who ran the café for more than eight years, said they could have easily continued with a six-month lease.

“We had the complete cafe fit out ready to go and all the local staff in place to operate it,’’ they said.

The Morgans said they expressed an interest in the six-month lease as soon they heard all the long-term submissions were rejected.

“We understood (from the report on the September meeting) that the chief executive was required to advertise for submissions for the six-month lease.

“By their own admission (I have an email) COW did not place an advert anywhere.

“We were originally given an unreasonable two working days to put together the six-month submission, this was extended to three days when we questioned the time frame.’’

They said city staff asked them to give an outline of their proposal and the financial reports from their original submission for the longer lease, which could be used to compile a report to put to the chief executive.

In a press release on Monday, October 10 the city said the proposal for a six-month lease of the café building was required to be advertised, with public submissions closing at 4.30pm on Monday, October 24.

The city’s corporate strategy and performance acting director David Nicholson said subject to analysis of any public submissions the city anticipated the new operator would be ready for summer.

Mr Nicholson said in the coming weeks the city would carry out scheduled maintenance work on the café building.

The Morgans said they had not been notified about any scheduled maintenance work.

“We agreed to completely repaint the cafe as part of the six-month submission, had we been informed the COW were going to have some input into the works our refurbishment could have been a lot more extensive.

“In eight years 10 months we have never fallen behind with any payments due to COW.

“Our staff were hanging on waiting to hear the outcome, we had to break the devastating news.

“When we leave the cafe it will literally be an empty shell.

“We are removing everything we can, it is all we have left of a business we purchased for a great deal of money almost nine years ago –  we have no choice but to give away all of our goodwill.’’

Last month when the council rejected all submissions for a long term lease it said it would conduct a strategic review of the Brazier Road site and building.

A report on that study will form part of the mid-year budget review in January.

At the time corporate strategy and performance director Noelene Jennings said the city wanted to “lift the user experience at Yanchep for locals and visitors alike”.

“The city has made a multi-million dollar investment in social infrastructure for Yanchep, such as the new surf club and sports ovals, and the café premises will now be part of our strategic planning for progressive connected communities,’’ she said.