Yarra Council has voted to levy an annual fee of $105 on those traders in the alfresco dining strips of Richmond, Fitzroy and Collingwood who use the heaters.
The council says it is pushing the policy to discourage the use of heaters, in an effort to reduce carbon emissions.
It will spend the cash raised from the tax on blankets for traders who rip out their heaters, so they can give them to their diners to ward off the chill.
But residents are outraged by the proposal, saying they won’t dine in outdoor areas without heaters.
“The council has gone too far. This is just ridiculous,” said local Geof Lord.
“It will be bad for business, bad for the area, bad for tourism. It will ruin Melbourne’s iconic cafe culture.”
Local trader Richard Konirik is organising a protest against the council action, saying it will cripple businesses.
“We think Yarra Council are anti-businesses,” Mr Konirik said.
“The council needs to look after the traders instead of trying to dictate to them. The traders on Bridge Rd are outraged and just disillusioned by the local government,” he said.
The protest is planned for the Richmond Town Hall steps on June 7 at 9am.
Yarra Council is the same council that this week voted six to one in favour of an injecting room at Richmond, in an attempt to deal with drug use and overdoses on Victoria Street. The State Government says it does not support the plan.
Source: Herald Sun