Food pol­icy stalls

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - FRONT PAGE - Matt Zis

A TRIAL to waive fees for food trucks op­er­at­ing in Vic­to­ria Park this sum­mer has been halted just weeks be­fore it was set to be­gin.

Coun­cil­lors re­acted to the con­cerns of ‘bricks and mor­tar’ eater­ies on Tues­day night by vot­ing to hold off in­tro­duc­ing an over­ar­ch­ing pol­icy for mo­bile food ven­dors.

Coun­cil­lors in­stead agreed to hold more work­shops with lo­cal busi­ness own­ers, recog­nis­ing the need to bal­ance their re­spon­si­bil­ity to ex­ist­ing rate-pay­ing busi­nesses with a wish to make the Town of Vic­to­ria Park a “food and bev­er­age des­ti­na­tion of choice” through “in­creased vi­brancy and ac­ti­va­tion”.

Un­der the pol­icy, mo­bile traders would ap­ply for a ven­dor’s per­mit valid for 12 months at des­ig­nated trad­ing ar­eas GO Ed­wards Park, Mc­Cal­lum Park, Harold Ros­siter Park, Carlisle Re­serve, Parn­ham Park and Hig­gins Park.

Presently they have to ap­ply and pay a fee each time they op­er­ate on coun­cil land.

In a re­port to coun­cil­lors, coun­cil staff pro­posed a five-month trial from Novem­ber 1 of waiv­ing per­mit fees to max­imise the takeup of mo­bile food ven­dors.

“This will en­cour­age a greater num­bers of traders to the Town and pro­vide the com­mu­nity and the Town with in­creased op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence and eval­u­ate the im­pacts of their trade (neg­a­tive and pos­i­tive),” the re­port stated.

While the pol­icy was brought about by a need to re­duce red tape for mo­bile traders, what was put be­fore coun­cil­lors at last Tues­day’s meet­ing con­tained clear driv­ers to en­cour­age more reg­u­lar op­por­tu­ni­ties for food trucks.

Among its eight aims were to in­crease vi­brancy and ac­ti­va­tion in open spa­ces, pro­vide new food ex­pe­ri­ences for lo­cals, in­crease the use of pub­lic open space and to pro­mote the Town as a food and bev­er­age des­ti­na­tion of choice.

The de­fer­ral pro­vides some respite for lo­cal cafes and restau­rants, par­tic­u­larly along Al­bany High­way’s food strip, where times have been even tougher in re­cent months, as Water Cor­po­ra­tion works con­tinue to af­fect roads and park­ing in the area.

One of the con­cerns that be­came ap­par­ent was many lo­cal busi­nesses were un­aware of the coun­cil’s in­tent to in­tro­duce the new pol­icy un­til only re­cently, de­spite it be­ing pub­licly ad­ver­tised for three weeks across Au­gust and Septem­ber.

Cr Karen Ver­non re­quested the coun­cil de­fer con­sid­er­a­tion of the pol­icy in light of con­cerns from the lo­cal busi­ness sec­tor.

“The Town has a sig­nif­i­cant small busi­ness com­mu­nity and the food and bev­er­age sec­tor is a very im­por­tant part of that,” she said.

“At its heart is the cafe strip on Al­bany High­way.

“In other parts of our Town – Lath­lain, Carlisle and Bur­swood – we are see­ing an ex­pan­sion into food busi­nesses that Al­bany High­way is so well known for.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.