Ricketts Point Teahouse on the Beaumaris foreshore is a much loved local venue for a daytime meal in a wonderful coastal setting. In 2019 we asked for your feedback on a proposal to refurbish the Teahouse interior and extension of opening hours to allow for a dinner service.

The Ricketts Point Teahouse refurbishment has commenced. The works include a refurbished deck for outdoor dining, new interior décor, upgraded kitchen and replacement of grease and sewer pumps involving excavation and soil movement. The long-term Teahouse tenant is funding the renovations.

The site will be fenced during construction, with some path closures to ensure public safety. Overhanging trees will be pruned to ensure they are not damaged during the works. Works commenced in early July 2020, weather permitting, with estimated completion in late November 2020.

Lease Process

In March 2020 Council authorised the Director Corporate Services to execute a new lease to Beachside Café Pty Ltd. The lease is for a Restaurant/Cafe and Kiosk for 21 years with the following hours of operation: 7:00am – 11:30pm, with a Liquor Licence for 11:00am - 11:30pm.

The Ricketts Point Teahouse was built circa 1985 and has been renovated and expanded over the years. The building requires significant structural and cosmetic improvements.

The long term tenant is proposing to refurbish the Teahouse interior and extend opening hours to serve dinner, with alcoholic drinks. The tenant would fund the improvements.

The current lease expires on 30 June 2020. To facilitate the current tenant making a significant investment in the commercial property, Council is proposing to offer a long term lease.

The proposal would provide the Bayside community with a significantly improved facility at no cost to ratepayers and Council.

Council earns income from the lease of community properties which it can then invest back into services and facilities for the Bayside community. In this instance, Council and ratepayers are better off financially if the tenant funds the refurbishment.

Ricketts Point Teahouse lies on Crown Land, with Council as the responsible land manager. We are seeking feedback on the proposal to ensure it meets the expectations of the community.

The refurbishment is of the interior and deck area only. It includes installing a new kitchen, demolishing the existing toilets and building new toilets, restumping and resurfacing the timber deck, partial enclosure of the deck area with awnings and new umbrellas/heaters, new counters, table and chairs and décor. The footprint of the existing building will not increase.

This is in line with Principle 4, 12.4 of the Ricketts Point and Ricketts Point Landside Management Plan discouraging any development that creates a net increase in overall building footprint within Ricketts Point, based on the building envelopes in place on 1 July 2013.

The Teahouse currently has a café/restaurant liquor licence which requires patrons to consume a meal with alcoholic drinks from 11am to 5pm. The proposal includes an amendment to the existing licence to allow for the sale of alcohol from 11am to 11:30pm.

As the Teahouse is some distance away from any houses, we do not expect local neighbours to be affected. There is ample parking on site to service restaurant patrons.

Council earns income from the lease of community properties which it can then invest back into services and facilities for the Bayside community. In this instance, Council and ratepayers are better off financially if the tenant funds the refurbishment.

Offering an extended lease will provide the tenant with security to make this investment worthwhile. The lease will be offered at a commercial rate, with regular reviews.

Council’s Lease and Licence Policy 2018 provides for negotiation in the first instance with the existing tenant in the lead up to a lease renewal, rather than opening up an Expression of Interest.

Property Strategy 2018-2021

Key Principles This Strategy is based on the following guiding principles:

1. Council property is to be used to deliver the highest possible community value

2. Property assets are to be fit for purpose, well maintained and financially sustainable

3. Property occupied by community and not for profit groups will have high levels of utilisation and generate demonstrable benefits to the broader community

4. Decisions on the future use of property will be transparent and deliver equitable outcomes

5. Council property will be used to leverage strategic outcomes and commercial return where appropriate

Lease and Licence Policy 2018

6.1 Commercial Property At its absolute discretion, Council may seek to negotiate with a commercial tenant prior to end of lease term in relation to a new lease. A decision to negotiate with a tenant for a future lease will be dependent on an assessment of the need and community benefit of the property. Consideration will include the performance of the tenant in relation to the current lease, any ongoing or proposed investment, application of the Retail Lease Act, Crown Land Reserves Act and any other factors or specific requirements related to the property. In such a negotiation the minimum rental will be based on a market rent assessment undertaken by a qualified independent valuer taking all relevant conditions into account. Where it is determined to undertake market testing when a commercial premises has become vacant, or at the expiry of the term, a tender or an expression of interest process will be carried out by way of a public marketing campaign.

Crown Land such as Ricketts Point is land that has been set aside for the enjoyment and benefit of the public and can support a variety of amenities defined for ‘resort and recreation’.

The Ricketts Point Teahouse provides facilities for residents and visitors to enjoy refreshments in a coastal setting. It supports the use of one of Port Phillip’s few fully accessible beaches.

The proposal to provide dinner service extends the hours the community can enjoy this amenity.

Will the extended hours affect the foreshore reserve and Marine Sanctuary?

Under the proposal, the Teahouse will offer a restaurant style dinner service, with alcoholic drinks available. As the Teahouse is currently closed during the evenings, the dinner service would bring additional people to the foreshore however as there is no increase in infrastructure it is not expected to impact the foreshore or Marine Sanctuary.

What about nocturnal animals?

We are consulting with the community to gain initial feedback on the proposal to determine if there is support for it to proceed to the next stage.

If the proposal proceeds to the planning permit application stage Council will engage independent wildlife experts to provide advice on any potential impact of the proposed extended opening hours on nocturnal animals. This will enable us to develop the proposal in a way that ensures nocturnal animals are not affected.

Will this impact the Marine Education Science and Community Centre (MESAC) proposal?

The proposal does not impact the Marine Education Science and Community Centre proposal.

How does this proposal fit with the Ricketts Point and Ricketts Point Landside Management Plan 2013?

The Ricketts Point and Ricketts Point Landside Management Plan recognises that the Teahouse supports the Ricketts Point experience, and provides revenue to Council which can then be invested in improvements to Ricketts Point and the broader Bayside community.

This proposal supports Principle Four of the Management Plan - Manage the Built Environment which aims to ensure that the Ricketts Point Teahouse is appropriately redeveloped as it reaches the end of its useful life; and that facilities and infrastructure provided are adequate, accessible and well located.

Bayside City Council will upgrade the car park in mid-June 2020. Taking into consideration the high number of vehicles that use this car park to access various recreational activities, Council has been decided that Option 1: asphalt is the best option for resealing the car park wear and erosion from natural causes.

Works will be completed over a period of approximately four weeks, and staged to limit any impact of parking. Access to the Beaumaris Life Saving Club will be maintained and the B17 car park will remain open.

Background information

There is sufficient onsite parking to accommodate an increase in visitor numbers during evenings.

The Ricketts Point and Ricketts Point Landside Management Plan 2013 identified the need to investigate an upgrade and resurfacing of car park B18, with a view to improving safety and making it less susceptible to erosion.

The B18 car park lies to the south of the Teahouse between the two crossovers to Beach Road. The sealed surface of the car park is disintegrating in places and is uneven from patched repairs over the years.

No works are proposed for the unsealed gravel parts of the road and carpark.

There are two possible options for the treatment of the sealed carpark:

Option 1: Resurface the existing sealed section with asphalt. This will provide accessible parking, and reduced ongoing maintenance costs. An asphalt carpark will have a longer life expectancy (35 years); lower maintenance and include 20% recycled materials in asphalt (including plastic and glass)..

Option 2: Resurface the existing sealed section with spray seal (same as existing). Spray seal has a shorter life expectancy (15 years) and will need to be maintained more often and at a higher cost in the future. It is very sensitive to car steering and not recommended in busy car parks.

Spray seal is not more porous and allows no greater permeation than asphalt.