Yanchep Lagoon Café closure protest

More than 70 people have expressed an interest in attending a protest about Yanchep Lagoon Café losing its lease. Picture: Anita McInnes

YANCHEP Lagoon Café is closing this weekend potentially leaving the area without a food, beverage and beach supplies outlet during the busy summer months.

Yanchep residents are among those expected to protest about the sudden closing of the café after the City of Wanneroo decided not to renew the lease of the existing operators.

Café tenant Sue Morgan said Sunday, September 25 would the last trading day after operating the café for more than eight years.

Yanchep News Online understands a protest to keep the café open will start from 11am.

On Tuesday evening the café’s Facebook page (which is at https://www.facebook.com/Yanchep-Lagoon-Cafe-380131668783386/) showed more than 70 people had expressed an interest in attending the protest.

In a surprise move City of Wanneroo councillors voted on Tuesday, September 13 to reject all submissions received under the expression of interest process for a commercial lease of the Brazier Rd café.

The minutes included a comment by the city’s administration that closure of the cafe during the busy summer season was likely to present a reputational risk for the city.

Mrs Morgan said she and her husband Peter were devastated their plans for the café had been rejected.

“It is so sad that we will never see our plans through to fruition,’’ she said.

The motion put forward by councillor Linda Aitken also authorised the chief executive officer to investigate securing a temporary vendor (or vendors) to operate the café for a term or terms not exceeding six months in each case and/or food vans (or similar service providers) to operate in the locality of Brazier Rd, Yanchep.

The motion also endorsed the city conducting a strategic review into the use of Lot 9740 Brazier Road, Yanchep, including (but not limited to) the retention of the existing building and the potential to redevelop the site and report to the council for the mid-year budget review.

The Morgans have started a petition The Keep the Lagoon Cafe Yanchep open petition at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/keep-the-lagoon-cafe-open.html  which on Tuesday evening had been signed by more than 80 people.

The petition said the café building had already been the subject of an extensive condition report and a rent assessment back in March 2016. “The condition report carried out by JDI projects found the building to have a remaining life of approximately 20 years,’’ the petition said.
“At great expense to the local rate payers there has been a tender process underway for the new lease of the premises since April 2016. “This process was advertised to follow a strict procedure which we were assured would be transparent throughout.

“The process attracted 38 Stage 1 EOI and 11 Stage 2 EOI.
“We listened to our many supporters and critics and thought long and hard about our submission.

“We submitted 85 pages of extremely detailed and extensive plans for a completely new business which was to include a total refit of the building, new menus, evening opening, music and a strong link to the history, heritage and indigenous culture of the area.
“All 11 Stage 2 submissions were scored and assessed by the original team of four City of Wanneroo staff, endorsed by senior staff members and finally the CEO Daniel Simms before submitting the report to council in July, this report was (and still is) made public on the COW website.

“On the day of the meeting we were informed the report had been withdrawn from the agenda.

“We eventually discovered a new panel of City of Wanneroo staff were to re-asses the top four submissions.
“The second assessment team put forward their report to council for voting on 13th Sept.

“This report was now confidential depriving ourselves and the public from commenting.

“Despite having been endorsed as the preferred candidate on both occasions by both assessment panels, this new motion by Cr Linda Aitken has now rejected all submissions without giving good reason or fair consideration to all of us who submitted.’’

The council minutes said the matter had dealt with behind closed doors so councilors could view the confidential advice provided by the engaged probity adviser, which had been referred to in the officer’s report.