Council caught flat-footed on food

PLANS to open Bayswater’s first pop up food van have so flummoxed council staff they want six months to scratch their heads before agreeing to it.

Catherine Ehrhardt understands the bureaucrats’ desire for a formal policy to be in place, but reckons she should be allowed to open in the interim, even if only for a trial run.

She’s keen for the Franklin Foodies van to sell American-style comfort food outside her Blackcurrant Clothing boutique on Railway Parade between 11am and 1pm Monday to Friday, with an option for breakfasts if it takes off.

Ms Ehrhardt reckons it’ll stimulate trade in the area and draw more people over the bridge.

“Apart from Dome, there is not much choice for people on this side of the railway line,” she says.

“It would offer people more variety and would be a good way of testing the waters without someone having to commit to the cost of opening a full cafe.

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“Similar food vans have proved popular in places like Fremantle and Perth.”

In July 2013, Fremantle city council began a trial of food vans to activate “forgotten” public spaces.

The trial allowed 12 food van licences and identified 13 locations in parks and reserves to limit competition with nearby businesses.

Bayswater staff say the concept is new and the council bylaws don’t cover the category.

“There may be some impact on existing businesses’ trade,” staff wrote.

“There has been no consultation to date with these businesses to ascertain the extent of the potential impact on their operations.”

Council staff want the application put on ice for six months to give them time to develop a policy.

The matter comes before the council for a vote later this month.

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