An empty building in Terang’s CBD will be redeveloped into a cafe and retail shop under a plan from the town’s disability services provider.
Cooinda Terang will upgrade the former maternal child health centre in High Street to create a sit-down cafe and shop space.
Corangamite Shire councillors approved the development at their meeting on Tuesday, also voting to reduce rent on the building to help ensure its success and offset costs associated with renovating the building.
Cooinda chief executive officer Janice Harris said the cafe would provide opportunities for the organisation’s clients and benefit the wider Terang community.
“It’s a great opportunity for real community inclusion and for valued roles in the community,” she said.
“We will have staff supporting the project and two to three participants from Cooinda as wait staff and preparing meals.”
The cafe will offer healthy meal choices and its location on the highway next to a playground aims to capitilise on passing traffic.
Ms Harris said the after an extensive fit-out the cafe should be open for business by October. It will also include a retail space selling pottery and art created by Cooinda participants.
Corangamite Shire councillor Chris O’Connor said the project was a win-win for Cooinda and the wider community.
“I think it would be a great training venue for some of the kids, I think they would have a lot of fun being part of the community and up with the action and I think it should be a terrific business,” he said.
“I really look forward to it… becoming a popular business in Terang and a great asset for some of these children, young adults and adults at Cooinda to help them grow within themselves and also within the community.”
Councillor Ruth Gstrein said Warrnambool-based Tasty Plate and the Botanic Cafe in Colac showed how successful similar enterprises had been.
“I think there is amazing benefit for the community of Terang and the community of Cooinda clients,” she said.
“There are limited opportunities in smaller country towns for people with a disability to gain employment and experience and integrate into the community.
“I’m absolutely delighted that Cooinda and their clients will be taking this opportunity up.”