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Cafe on high hopes for best

Saturday, 14th November, 2020

Broken Earth Cafe licensee Jim Hickey and owner Dan Powe feel their days may be numbered due to the NSW Government’s redevelopment plans for the Line of Lode. PICTURE: Myles Burt Broken Earth Cafe licensee Jim Hickey and owner Dan Powe feel their days may be numbered due to the NSW Government’s redevelopment plans for the Line of Lode. PICTURE: Myles Burt

By Myles Burt

Staff at The Broken Earth Cafe are savouring their time because the Line of Lode upgrade will result in their license being terminated. 

The NSW Government last week announced the $3.95 million upgrade will involve redesigning and expanding the cafe as well as improving its kitchen and dining facilities. 

But Broken Earth Cafe licensee Jim Hickey said while it was good to get some money into the city, it came at a cost for the business. 

“Once they get all their plans into place, their quotes and all that in ready to build, then we’ll get a termination notice,” Mr Hickey said.

“We’ll have to take all our stuff out of the cafe and then once it’s all built it’ll go up for tender again.”

Mr Hickey said owners Dan and Caitlin Powe were upset about it because they were looking forward to recouping the costs from their first couple of years in business, and those from the COVID-19 restrictions. 

He said the past four months had been pretty good for business, but the cafe will probably close by the end of next year when plans for the redevelopment are finalised.

“It’s pretty tough on them, really, and then they’ve got all their equipment to try and dispose of if they don’t get the new license,” Mr Hickey said.

“The ideal scenario would be that we could put the gear aside, take over the new one until the end of our license agreement and let it go for tender then.

“Because then they’ll know how it runs and all their gear would be back in there, they’d have something they could sell on if they didn’t get the tender.”

Mr Hickey said they would decide about reapplying after they seee the new license agreement. 

But he doesn’t feel another big function centre is needed in Broken Hill, especially after the opening of the Broken Hill Outback Resort, Broken Hill Pub, the upgraded Civic Centre and the new The Old Brewery.

“There’s only so many conferences and so many lots of people that want large functions,” he said.

Mr Hickey said the government money should have gone towards a Miners Interpretative Centre rather than a cafe redevelopment because tourists were very interested in the city’s mining history. 

“If it was a good interpretive centre they’d spend an extra day here and that would benefit the whole town for years and years.

“The cafe and function centre aren’t going to bring in new tourists, it’s just going to be another facility to be used.”

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