COOK Park’s Bastick Cottage is too small for a cafe or shop and should be left the way it is, according to the president of the Cook Park Guildry Barbara Baker.
The master plan outlining about $5 million worth of potential upgrades to the park over the next 20 years makes little mention of the guildry’s future in the park, but suggests a cafe or shop could be established in at least five years time.
But Mrs Baker says she does not want to see the guildry’s 30-year presence in the park changed.
She said Guildry members feared a cafe would impact on the group’s sales.
“A lot of people don’t realise the amount of customers we have go through and the amount of tourist information we give out,” she said.
“We’re continually giving out maps of Orange.
“We’ve been there running very well for 30 years plus.”
Mrs Baker said she was uncertain how viable a cafe or shop in the park would be, but said there was a need for tea, coffee and soft drinks, with visitors often asking where the nearest cafe was.
She suggested a coffee van in the park for a trial period could give the council an indication of whether a cafe would be utilised and a more formal count of guildry visitor numbers would show its viability and popularity.
Currently Orange City Council maintains the outside of the building, while the inside and furnishings are looked after by the guildry.
“We pay for all our own power and everything and we make donations from time to time to things like the show society,” Mrs Baker said.
All four of the cottage’s rooms are filled by the guildry, while the Endeavour Room is used for exhibitions and displays.
While Mrs Baker welcomed other recommendations from the master plan, including the replacement of the rose garden with a maze, she was disappointed about the removal of the bird aviary, an attraction that remained popular with children visiting the park.
“The trees in the park are just beautiful,” she said.
“I’d be happy to have the park stay as it is, but everything has to grow and everything has to be maintained, and we have to move on.”
The guildry is open from 10am to 4pm seven days a week, selling craft, homemade cakes, slices, biscuits and chocolates.
Mondays and Tuesdays are quieter days, but Mrs Baker says the guildry remains popular with regular visitors and tourists dropping in to buy homemade goods.
“We’ve got a great reputation for our great cooking,” she said.
The public can view and comment on the Cook Park plans until November 19.