Dine and Discover: Northern beaches options for 'discoveries' are few and far between

RIDING HIGH: EcoTreasures owner Damien McClellan is one of the few to jump aboard the NSW Government's initiative. Picture: Geoff Jones
RIDING HIGH: EcoTreasures owner Damien McClellan is one of the few to jump aboard the NSW Government's initiative. Picture: Geoff Jones

AN initiative encouraging people to Dine and Discover on the NSW Government might have been launched, but so far only 19 'discover' businesses on the northern beaches have registered.

The area was included in the program's pilot to help COVID-19 lockdown impacted businesses and it gives residents $100 in vouchers - two $25 vouchers to dine out and two $25 vouchers for entertainment, recreation, arts and live music.

So far one quarter (335 businesses) of the 1300 eligible northern beaches businesses have registered, with the vast majority of them being classified as 'dine' rather than 'discover'.

EcoTreasures is among the few local 'discover' options and owner Damien McClelland says he doesn't understand why others haven't signed up.

"It was very easy [to register], it took 15 minutes," he said. "It's a great scheme and we've already had a few enquiries. It's focusing on getting people out and doing stuff."

With paddleboard and kayak tours and hire, snorkelling tours, and the SUP Club Pittwater which offers sunrise paddleboarding, Mr McClelland is hopeful for a rush in business after a very tough lockdown period.

Manly MP James Griffin said despite the lack of uptake the program was "the right thing" to help northern beaches businesses because the funds were directed and businesses weren't required to collect receipts and send them off to claim.

"Clearly we need more discover based businesses to sign up and hopefully the business owners will get some time in their day to register," he said.

"The feedback I get is the vouchers are starting to be used in Manly."

Pittwater MP Rob Stokes said while he's been out encouraging businesses to register, he's "at a loss" in understanding why so few have taken it up.

"I can't for the life of me understand why, they've got nothing to lose," he said. "It mystifies me because it's a real opportunity for them."

There are more than 114,000 northern beaches residents aged over 18 who are eligible for the vouchers and so far 30,490 people have registered.

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