Queen's Park Cafe future in doubt after dispute with council
THE future of the Queen's Park Cafe and its 32 employees is uncertain after a disagreement with the council tender process.
The popular cafe is operating on a trustee permit and has no lease arrangement.
It has been owned by the Reynolds family for almost six years.
Despite the family winning a recent tender to continue running the cafe, the council has again put it out to tender.
The family is understood to be uncertain about the future of the business, complaining about contract inconsistencies and the payments asked by the council.
No rent amount was given in the agreement, but a source involved in the negotiations said the council asked for 10 per cent of the businesses' gross income.
It is understood the council agreement has changed several times, with the council asking for a base rent amount and 10 per cent of the net profit.
The inconsistencies have caused concern for the family, which is understood to be uncertain whether the cafe will be open next month.
A spokesman for Ipswich City Council defended the tender process and said it was carried out in accordance with the council's policies.
"Attempts were made to negotiate a commercially acceptable rent post the tender process, however agreement could not be reached with the successful tenderer," he said.
The council awarded the tender to the Reynolds' family, subject to negotiations of terms of the lease being approved.
An agreement could not be reached, and it was re-advertised, the spokesman said.
"Given the inability to reach agreement following prolonged negotiations, council approved revisiting the market through a second tender process in the hope of attracting prospective cafe operators," he said.
"This tender will be re-advertised with a goal to maximise community benefits and improved financial returns.
"This approach aligns with council's desire to obtain leases within acceptable commercial terms that strike a balance between what the lessee should pay and what ratepayers would expect to be a fair return to council."
The spokesman said the council offered the family a further six months to operate the cafe from September 1.
In Parliament, Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller called for an investigation into the tender process.
She said the council had caused anxiety to Liz Reynolds, owner of the cafe.