GEORGE NEWS - Getafix Café in the Garden Route Botanical Garden is closing its doors after trading for four years.
The popular venue, that launched events like the successful monthly Friday night market and garden movie nights, has suffered a major loss of income during the past year due to the roadworks in Caledon Street and the business has become unviable, said owner Michelle Cawood-Van Vuuren.
"It is with a heavy heart that we have reached the decision to close Getafix Garden Café last Thursday night. This has not been an easy decision as staff is involved. Breadwinners who feed families have been impacted by this decision."
She said the effect of the roadworks placed them in a position where they could not pay their rent on time.
"We did try to sustain the rent with small events. The Botanical Garden Trust was advised that I would pay as soon as I can, but on Thursday afternoon we received a lawyer's letter from them to inform us of the cancellation of our rental contract.
"We would like to thank all who supported us, both our clientele and our suppliers who stood by us during the lean year when we were placed under severe stress from the roadworks. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by our closure but we are left with no alternative," said Cawood-Van Vuuren.
Chairman of the Garden Trust, Roger Bath, said, "It is very important to us to have a viable, quality tea garden restaurant at the Botanical Garden so we are also very sorry to have to take these steps, but we have to look to the interests of the trust which remains financially stressed - although the position is substantially improved - and we cannot subsidise her business."
Residents of Caledon Street recently met with an attorney regarding possible financial damages claims against the George Municipality. The rebuilding of the road began in June last year and was supposed to have been completed within about four months.
According to the municipality, the project was undertaken for the sake of improved carrying capacity for the buses of the public bus service. Limited and difficult access to properties during the roadworks caused a sharp decline in visitor numbers to businesses like guesthouses and the restaurant.
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