BOAT HOUSE Cafe owner De Hunt is devastated but determined to bounce back from the fire that destroyed her business.
Investigators are yet to determine the cause of the blaze, which gutted the landmark cafe on the shore of Lake Daylesford on Saturday night.
Ms Hunt, who has run the iconic business for seven years, said she was shell shocked by the loss and so were her 15 employees, now left waiting for news of the cafe’s future.
“They’re devastated because they’ve put a lot of hard work into it as well,” Ms Hunt said.
“Everybody still wants to work there. It was my life, my pride and joy.”
Ms Hunt, who has insurance, said everything was gone, including paintings and memorabilia she would never be able to replace.
The fire came after a tough year for the cafe, which was affected by several break-ins.
“Hopefully the council will rebuild the premises as soon as possible for us so we can get back to business as usual,” Ms Hunt said. “I’m gob smacked at the support.”
The council owns the Boat House building and the nearby toilet block, which is on Crown Land. The Boat House Cafe was operated under lease from the council.
Hepburn Shire Mayor Bill McClenaghan said councillors would receive a briefing from officers today on the situation.
“As for what happens now, we do everything possible to get it back again as soon as possible because of its iconic value to Daylesford and particularly the lake environment,” he said.
Hepburn Shire’s manager of Economic Development and Tourism John Collins said the council had waived rental payments and was offering what assistance it could to the cafe operator.
The council will consider the options to rebuild once the insurance assessment and other investigations have been concluded.
Book Barn owner Andrew Green said his heart went out to Ms Hunt and her staff.
“I saw her this morning and I gave her a big hug,” he said.
“If that happened to me I would be devastated. When you’re in a small business, everything there is you – it’s a reflection of yourself.”