Meander Valley Gazette

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Council puts the bite on vendors

BusinessJoanne EisemannComment

April 2018 | Sharon Webb

MEANDER VALLEY council has placed an annual fee of $163.50 on mobile food vans operating on its streets and properties.

Councillors voted for the new policy in their March meeting; the application process will be available on the council’s website shortly.

Councillor Tanya King said the policy would “provide clarity” for people with food vans.

And Cllr Bob Richardson said the policy was needed according to federal economic regulation principles requiring councils not to allow free services on their property in competition with existing businesses.

Cllr John Temple, who runs a business in Westbury, was critical of food vans which he said “cherry pick the time of day to operate and are not loyal to the local community” like local bricks-and-mortar businesses who serve the community every day of the year.

But Cllr Deb White believes food vans should be welcome in the Meander Valley: “They expand the pie rather than decreasing existing vendors’ share. The more that’s happening, the more it generates for existing businesses.”

The food van fee will be charged annually and Council will monitor food registration licences and undertake inspections.

The new policy does not apply to applications by mobile food vehicles to operate on a public street during an event where council has granted permission for a street closure to conduct that event. Council will review the policy at the end of the first year.