Food trucks reprieve 

FOOD trucks will remain in Hyde Park after a motion to turf out regulars was voted down at this week’s Vincent council meeting.

Councillor Josh Topelberg says the council originally set out to provide “irregular trading for special events”, but some food trucks have turned out to be stickier than a jam doughnut.

Eight brick and mortar businesses have also set up within 200 metres of the park since food trucks were first allowed in about six years ago.  

“Hyde Park and particularly the western end do not need activation – if anything, the proliferation of activity has changed the park significantly from its traditional use for more than a century,” read the preamble to Cr Topelberg’s motion.

“The noise, waste generation, visual impact and the impact of increased vehicle access are having a negative impact on the amenity of the park users and local residents.”

There’s been a few complaints over the years about noise and pollution from generators and some turf disputes between the vendors, who pay $700 a year for an operating permit.

Food truck operator Islam Bouyahia from What the Flip creperie implored the council to let them stay.

“I’ve always had this dream that I wanted to bring a little bit of central park New York to Hyde Park, by having my food truck there,” Mr Bouyahia said.

“I wanted to create tables, community, activity in the area in a way nobody did it before as I couldn’t see it anywhere else around Perth.”

Breaking eggs

“We did run into troubles with some of the operators there, there was a lack of trust, there was competition which is absolutely normal; in French we say ‘you don’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs’,” the Algeria-born, Bordeaux-raised chef said.

“We worked out our problems, we talked, we’re continually trying to build a relationship.

Northbridge resident Peter Bull said the park vendors were invaluable for him and his wife Lindy. 

“Hyde Park is a safe and shaded place to walk and spend time outside and away from traffic. My wife, who is blind and uses a cane, and I, cannot overstate the value of a cafe away from the noise and danger of roads. 

“The western end of the park has become a wonderful social hub where we can cross paths and chat with scores of locals, friends and neighbours.”

Cr Topelberg said his motion was “not a vigilante mission to get rid of food trucks.

“I think it’s a fair representation of a fair proportion of the community who feel this way and expressed it,” Cr Topelberg said.

He reckons he’s had consistent complaints about noise, rubbish, and food choices.

But he was the sole vote in favour.

Both Mr Bouyahia and Mr Bull said noise and fumes could be solved if the council installed a power source so the trucks can ditch the generators. That idea was considered by council in October 2020 but considered less practical than generators, as it’d cost $13,145 to install power and they had no means to measure who’d used electricity.

Meanwhile the council’s plan to consider a permanent kiosk in the nearby storage shed (attached to the toilets near the west end playground) is due to go out for consultation shortly.

by DAVID BELL

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