16 September 2021

Chisholm Tavern a COVID casualty after long battle to remain open

| Lottie Twyford
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Chisholm Tavern owners Graham and Jennifer Hunt

Chisholm Family Tavern owners Graham and Jennifer Hunt say it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but they had no choice. Photo: Michael Weaver.

The Chisholm Family Tavern will close its doors at the end of the week after a long-running battle against landlords and big business to remain open.

In a Facebook post, Chisholm Tavern owners Graham and Jennifer Hunt said while they had worked hard to keep the Tavern alive, COVID-19 restrictions and the recent lockdown extension had made it impossible to operate a business.

“It’s with sad regret that we will not be opening the Tavern doors again,” it read.

The post said that neither Jenny nor Grumby wanted to retire, but they have had to acknowledge the circumstances in which they find themselves.

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The post cited factors such as the imposition of occupancy limits in place for most of the last 18 months, despite the lack of cases in the ACT, and without any real reduction in rent, making operating the Tavern impossible.

“It’s going to be impossible to manage the restrictions that the government will put in place yet again [once lockdown is ended],” it read.

The Tavern has also been engaged in a well-documented and long-running saga which saw the venue told by Chisholm Village Shopping Centre’s owner Ganellen to vacate the premises in order to build a McDonald’s instead.

A legal battle centred on the position of a toilet block that needed to be acquired and then knocked down for the McDonald’s to be built.

This saw two successive DAs knocked back by the Government before these decisions were eventually overturned in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT).

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A petition launched earlier this year calling on the ACT Government to recognise community concerns around the proposed development received tripartisan support from the area’s MLAs – Jonathan Davis (Greens), Mark Parton (Canberra Liberals) and Joy Burch (Labor).

Jenny also said the Tavern was “in dire need of renovation” which is also not viable in the current economic climate.

Jenny has encouraged anyone who has enjoyed the Tav’s schnitzels, parmis and crumbed cutlets to place an order one last time. Call 0413 527 304 from 3:00 pm to place your order on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

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Tis a sad thing. Have wandered in at various times over the last 30 odd years, and will miss the tav and Jenny and Gumby.

Still unsure about the Maccas thing. Is the area big enough ? even if they blow up the public toilet block it still looks a bit small.
However I suppose the owners of the site are dusting off plans they have had for some time.
‘watch this space’ as the saying goes.

Finagen_Freeman4:55 pm 16 Sep 21

But hang on, the government gave $660k to a church which turned a $1m profit. Why are we not supporting locals better? It’s another reason why governments no longer serve their people.

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