Cafe reopening on Thursday; outside parking only

When Wayne and Sarah Bugden reopen The Coast Cafe on Thursday — six months after a car smashed...
When Wayne and Sarah Bugden reopen The Coast Cafe on Thursday — six months after a car smashed through the cafe walls and into the dining area — the Kakanui couple are asking patrons to ‘‘please park outside’’. Photo: Hamish MacLean
Nearly six months after an out-of-control vehicle ploughed through the front door, Coast Cafe at Kakanui is set to reopen.

Owners Wayne and Sarah Bugden plan to open for business on Thursday, almost six months to the day their business was destroyed, leaving the couple emotionally and financially devastated.

About 10.40pm on October 20, Jamie Skudder, who held a learner driver’s licence at the time, was driving an unregistered, unwarranted and illegally modified 1994 Ford Falcon with four passengers on Beach Rd at Kakanui. He drove through a 50kmh zone at high speed before he lost control of the vehicle, slid across both lanes of the road and smashed into the Beach Rd cafe.

The building was extensively damaged.

While the Bugdens struggled to come to terms with the aftermath, they saw it as an opportunity to improve certain aspects of the popular eatery, Mr Bugden said.

"There’s a bit of a change of colour scheme inside and it’s a lot tidier presentation inside. There’s a bit of an easier flow to the outside dining area, but we haven’t changed it a  lot, really.

About two hours after The Coast Cafe closed on a Friday night in October, a red Ford Falcon with...
About two hours after The Coast Cafe closed on a Friday night in October, a red Ford Falcon with four passengers careered off Beach Rd and into the cafe. Photo: Sarah Bugden
"We’ve gone down the surfing side of things too, the local Kakanui theme."

He said people could expect the same "warm hospitality and food" as they had in the past.

After missing out on the busy summer season, assessing damage and dealing with insurers, Mr Bugden looked forward to opening day.

"It’s been a long, drawn-out process. Hopefully things go smoothly when we do reopen and we’ve got everything sorted correctly."

In March, Skudder was sentenced to six months’ community detention, nine months’ supervision and 80 hours’ community work, and disqualified from driving for 15 months on charges of dangerous driving causing injury and driving while disqualified.

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