A new Cafe 22 will emerge on this empty block in Proserpine.
A new Cafe 22 will emerge on this empty block in Proserpine. Trish McNeill

Demolished after Debbie, a new cafe is on the rise

PROSERPINE'S popular Cafe 22, hard hit by Cyclone Debbie, has been demolished and will be rebuilt from scratch.

Owner Trish McNeill is finalising plans for the new building while she waits for an insurance claim to be finalised so the wall of the former Commonwealth Bank building next door can be fixed.

The adjoining wall would need to be repaired before building could start on the new cafe, she said.

Ms McNeill, who has been kept busy working her way through the insurance claims process, said there was a great deal of work involved and many things to think of.

"It has been eye-opening," she said.

"We now have to upgrade everything from sewerage and plumbing. The list of things goes on and on."


The empty block where Café 22 will be rebuild at Proserpine.
Plans for the rebuild are being finalised. Trish McNeill

Asked what the new Cafe 22 would look like, Ms McNeill said it would be "completely different".

"We will do something that is different for Proserpine," she said.

"Definitely it is an opportunity to rebuild differently."

One feature would be a walkway through the cafe, giving access to the Garden Art Alley business at the rear of the property. A walkway through the cafe area would allow visitors to enter the Balinese garden ornament shop, she said.

It had been a "toss up" whether to rebuild or not, Ms McNeill said, but it wasn't an option to leave an empty block there.

"You have to rebuild for the town's sake," she said.

"It will be great to have a brand new building and one that is going to be more community friendly."

Cafe 22 aims to become a community hub when rebuilt.


Trish McNeill, Owner of Café 22 is looking forward to bring a new café concept to Proserpine.
NEW CONCEPT: Trish McNeill, who owns Cafe 22, is looking forward to bringing a new cafe concept to Proserpine. Trish McNeill

The McNeill family has owned the business since 2014 and Ms McNeill said they had done a lot of refurbishing when they first purchased it.

"We rebuilt the apartment upstairs completely," she said. "We recycled a lot of the original building's materials."

Ms McNeill and her family also own a building company and she said it was a challenge time for everyone in the town.

"Just finding the time and finding the carpenters and labourers that we need is a challenge," she said.

With all the insurance builders in town there was an enormous amount of work and a short of labourers.

"The hardest thing is the lack of people to do the work," she said.