Food policy stalls
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.”