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Octagon bar owners are fuming after learning they will not be able to extend their premises during major events early next year, despite the Octagon being closed to vehicles.
It is the latest in a series of gripes over the temporary closure of the Octagon, which has fired up business owners, bus company Ritchies, and the New Zealand Cruise Association.
The Dunedin City Council recently announced trial closures of the Octagon, including a full closure from January 27 to February 16 and partial closures from February 17 to March 23.
Craft Bar and Kitchen owner John MacDonald said for the past 18 years, when big events such as concerts had occurred and the Octagon was closed to traffic, bars had been allowed to extend their premises on to the road to cater for the large crowds.
But during next year’s closure, which encapsulated events such as the Queen and Elton John concerts and the Masters Games, that would not be allowed.
‘‘The road’s going to be closed for this extensive period of time but we’re not able to utilise any of it.
‘‘We’re not able to put tables and chairs out there, we’re not able to put temporary bars out there, we’re not able to do any of it.’’
There had been no explanation from council about that decision, he said.
Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dougal McGowan said businesses felt ‘‘disenfranchised’’.
He chaired a meeting with about 20 retailers yesterday morning, where they shared their concerns.
A major concern was the process leading to the trial closure announcement where there was no consultation with businesses, only visits to explain what would happen, he said.
He was seeking a meeting with the council to consider alternatives.
The trial closure has sparked an outcry from businesses concerned about a potential loss of foot traffic when cruise passengers were dropped off outside Toitu.
But the council has said plenty of time and planning had gone into the trial closure, and it believed the measures would create a vibrancy and atmosphere that would attract visitors.
The council did not respond to a request for comment by deadline yesterday.