Food trucks | Letters to the editor

SO I have to say I am a food van owner but I do not street trade. 

My problem is the number of vans that keep appearing within the City of Busselton.

I purchased my van as a going business not just bring another one into town, and what annoys me is that I tried to sell and couldn’t. 

Is this a  way the city is trying to restrict the number of vans? Which I believe needs doing. 

If so just come out and say, no more vans there are too many.

Uou know there are 16 ice cream vans in the city, 16.

David Barnsley

I READ your article ‘New rules hurting vendors’ (published busseltonmail, July 7) regarding changes to the existing city’s mobile food vendor policy with interest.

While I accept that the city is trying to balance a range of views and expectations I am struggling to understand the strategy here.

If the environmental services manager has been quoted correctly she indicated that the new policy is designed to "facilitate greater flexibility", yet each location is restricted to one vendor for an eight hour period which seems counter intuitive.

I do not know the owner of the Comet Kitchen but have purchased food from his van on a few occasions and have to agree with his disappointment that we will no longer have him at the Yallingup car park in the evenings.

While there may be situations in other locations that have different competing interests, I certainly do not believe Yallingup is an area where one vendor would be interested or indeed prepared to set up in the carpark for eight hours.

As a person who spends a reasonable amount of time at the Yallingup Beach area I am not aware of any research that was done by the city to check with the areas users (i.e. locals and tourists) prior to introducing this policy.

Over the last few years the city have done a sensational job in landscaping and replacing old infrastructure to create an iconic world class facility, but sadly this policy does appear to be more about bureaucratic head office decision making rather than creating greater flexibility.

Steve Carr, Yallingup

I THINK the new guidelines implemented by the City of Busselton are unfair and damaging to hard working operators.

It has created a restrictive and unhealthy environment in a market that is based on mutual respect, community support and concepts of freedom.

Julia Ashton

I DO not think it is fair.

Food trucks brought the best vibe and alternate dining experience. I loved going down to Yallingup on a Sunday, grabbing a burger and watching the sunset.

This is a real shame.

Kelly Player

SOMETHING is not right.

Where is the food choice? It is all coffee, where is the consultation by the City of Busselton with operators, how is the public interest being served?

Why no explanation apart from a unilateral declaration, we have done it we know best.

What had they done wrong after two years to be served with a peremptory letter of so sad to bad.

Keith MacLennan

I REFER to the article ‘New rules hurting vendors’, (published in the Mail, July 12). 

I  want to correct some of the things said in the article, as well as assure everyone that the new rules have been carefully designed to be as fair as possible, for everyone, including the community as a whole, existing vendors, potential new vendors, and those who own and work at fixed businesses. 

The reality is, though, that two vendors cannot trade from the same place at the same time, there are a limited number of trading locations available, and until the new rules were put into effect, there was no security of tenure for vendors, almost no opportunity for new vendors to enter the market at the most desirable sites, and the fees being charged did not come close to even covering the cost to ratepayers of issuing and monitoring permits, let alone the cost of building and maintaining ablutions, car parks and other amenities, which help to make attractive trading locations.

For these kinds of reasons, the City has developed the new rules, and there was lots of discussion with vendors, fixed business and the wider community in doing that. 

Unfortunately, though, we knew this was an issue where we just would not be able to please everyone.

The City decided to have an open expression-of-interest process to determine who gets to trade and under what conditions.

Anyone could lodge an expression-of-interest, which would then be assessed against the same criteria as anyone else.

Some of those now expressing concerns with the new rules did lodge expressions-of-interest, but were not assessed as being the best options for their preferred site or sites.

Some others expressing concerns, however, did not actually submit expressions-of-interest. In both cases, there will be further opportunities to lodge expressions-of-interest for sites not yet filled, so those who missed out or have not participated to date will have further opportunities.

There are also some vendors who have already been successful, and now have an opportunity to build their businesses in a way which did not exist before.

Mobile vendors are an important and growing industry around Australia and elsewhere in the world.

They can provide a service where one would otherwise not exist, they can provide unique and innovative cuisine, and add life and variety to our communities.

The City and so many in our community appreciate the benefits of mobile vendors, and there will continue to be many opportunities for mobile vendors here.

We do, however, need to make sure that we are being fair to all vendors and to the rest of the community, including those own and work at fixed businesses.

City of Busselton mayor Grant Henley

AS A Busselton business owner in the food industry we wish to provide an insight into the other side of the story with regards to mobile food vans.

Prior to policy change, the licence fee for a mobile vendor was approximately $900 each year.

Food businesses in a fixed location pay $6700 each year for City rates, $3000 in lax tax, $840 each year to Water Corp for sewerage, $300 each year for a trade waste permit plus rent on a main street location.

We have set business hours, seven days a week and endure the winter months, which is basically providing a service to local customers (of we are grateful).

Our business also employs 14 people who are mostly teenagers. 

We feel the changes to the food van licences is certainly needed so that Busselton does not end up with vacant food outlets in our main street and the public relying on mobile food and beverage vendors which may or may not be operational due to time of day and time of year.

Also having mobile operators that come from out of town when it suits them taking our tourist dollars else where.

The $2600 to $3800 licence fee is not so bad. 

Busselton business owner (Abridged)