Irate over table rates

The boss of Queenstown’s Eichardt’s Private Hotel and The Grille says the council’s policy to offer a 50% discount on businesses’ table and chairs licence fees, in response to Covid, is ‘‘too little, too late’’.

The council last month announced the discount applies to fees coming due this year.

James Cavanagh (left) says he used to pay $4000 a year for eight outside tables but, when he received his 2020 invoice in late ’19, that had risen to about $9200 to reflect ‘‘market value’’.

Since March last year, however, the income from those tables has virtually dried up yet he still had to pay that higher rate, ‘‘when we were in the middle of a pandemic’’, when his 2021 invoice came due late last year, ‘‘The point is, my cashflow is hurting now, not in 2022.’’

Council’s out of step with virtually every landlord in town, who’d all offered rent reductions last year and even into this year, Cavanagh says.

Asked to respond, a council spokesperson emailed a report saying a ‘‘one-off’’ 50% discount for licence fees coming due this year had been approved.

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