City News

Lindt Cafe reopening draws mixed feelings

Lindt cafe on Friday morning. Photo: Kayla Canne

By Kayla Canne

Nearly 100 people flocked to the Lindt Cafe at Martin Place for its reopening last Friday morning. The company officially reopened its doors to customers at 10am, around the same time gunman Man Haron Monis ordered the doors locked on December 15 last year, taking 17 people hostage.
In memory of  victims Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson, two gold plaques have been placed at the cafe entrance, commemorating Ms Dawson as “an inspiration” and Mr Johnson as someone “forever in our hearts.”
Lindt Australia CEO Steve Loane officially announced the reopening in a Facebook statement early last week, noting the decision was made only after consulting with staff.
“Overwhelmingly, the feeling was that reopening and moving forward is the best thing to do for everyone affected,” Mr Loane said.
Cat Delaney, who was informally dubbed the “Tissue Lady” after she spent the five days following the attack handing out tissues in Martin Place, said she felt Lindt had appropriately timed the reopen by giving the community time to grieve.
“[The reopen] was inevitable, but they handled it tastefully,” she said. “It’s a nice compliment to Lindt and it compliments the two lives lost as well. I think they gave Sydneysiders a chance to come to terms with it, but this is also a chance for closure.”
Alan Sexton came to the reopening from Parramatta with a bouquet of rainbow roses, which he planned to place next to the memorial plaques as an act of “human kindness” in the face of terror.
“Terrorism is about trying to divide or pressure society and stir up hatred,” Sexton said.
“It failed completely in Sydney — instead, it worked against them because it united us in solidarity. It highlighted what a wonderful city we are, and how we came together in that context inspired me to be so proud about the city I live in.”
But a stream of comments under Mr Loane’s Facebook statement showed  mixed feelings towards the event.
Tane Thompson, a former Sydney resident who now lives in Brisbane, said he hoped Lindt had consulted the wider community prior to the reopening, as the event may have been too soon for those still trying to heal.
“With the event still very fresh in the minds of a lot of people, I think that some sort of timeline should have been adopted to help with the grieving process,” Mr Thompson told City Hub.
Mr Thompson agreed however that the reopening of the cafe would have a positive effect on the community.
“If anything, the reopening of the cafe should be seen as the first step in many towards healing. For me, personally, it’s a show of strength that the country is behind the community and that we mourn the loss of those who lost their lives that morning. It should not be seen as a stand against terrorism but as a show of solidarity.”
Ryde resident Rosaline Babayan struggled upon receiving news of the reopening, noting that the new memories of the attack would inhibit her cafe experience, if she decided to go back.
“I am double minded. On one hand I am happy about the opening and moving on, and on the other hand it’s not easy to have fun and enjoy my time in a location that marked the first terrorist attack in Sydney since I moved here about 12 years ago,” Ms Babayan said.
Although more customers streamed in as the hour continued, Ms Delaney was surprised by the small number of supporters at the beginning of the event, but said the grieving process will be different for everyone.
“People will come in their own time,” she said. “It’s a big thing.”

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