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Scorch-O-Rama gets go-ahead from council

Oct 31st, 2008 | By | Category: Lead Story, News

EFFORTS by Scorching Bay residents to scotch a plan replicating the famous Chocolate Fish café have failed.

Neighbours tried to prevent a replacement café getting permission to put tables on both sides of the road – one of the unique features of the Chocolate Fish – but Wellington City Council has rebuffed their objections.

The council has just approved a resource consent allowing Scorch-O-Rama business partners Bert Vlug and Jan Johansson to expand the new café to 110 seats, with 54 of them on the seaward side of Karaka Bay Rd.

Owners of the former Chocolate Fish John and Penny Pennington – who live next door and who closed their business last December – objected, citing noise from the exhaust flue, lack of parking, insufficient rubbish bin capacity, privacy and traffic issues.

Other residents who attended a recent council hearing on the matter, Joe Porebski and Lusia Aupaau opposed the application on privacy and traffic safety grounds.

Later, Mr Porebski said a new café should have been built on the seaward side of the road. He says it is unsafe to have waiters crossing the road to serve people.

He reckons residents are not getting a fair deal, and accuses the council of not listening to submitters, “only taking notice of experts”.

Council spokesman Richard MacLean rejected that.

“It is our job to give a fair hearing and I struggle to understand why he thinks he wasn’t listened to. We have to hear evidence and weigh it.

“We looked at privacy and figured it won’t really cause any problems to anyone.”

In a report to the council, traffic engineer Gary Clark agreed cars parking in the area would be high in summer. The council decided staff should be encouraged to car pool and park further down the road.

The council’s decision included a condition that staff wear high-visibility vests when crossing the road.

The council pointed out that the flue needed to comply with noise regulations and this was achievable.

As well as the tables over the road, the new café will have indoor seating for 24 and outdoor seating for 32 in a conservatory area.

Scorch-O-Rama co-owner and head chef Bert Vlug says: “We think it was a fair comment about the staff taking up parks and we are trying to stop that.”

He says the new café has been open for two weeks and has had a good response.

“We are happy and think we are meeting customers’ expectations,” he says.

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is a Whitireia Journalism student. She likes films, food and fashion. When she graduates she would like to work as a radio or newspaper reporter.
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