A tender subject

A KIOSK is looking likely for Hyde Park despite concerns about the park’s vegetation and its status as a commercial-free zone. 

Vincent council is seeking tenders for the fit out of a warm kitchen in a storage shed within the western toilet block.

Several councillors had mixed feelings; before approving an operator they want a plan on how the business will ensure the venerable but delicate trees nearby are protected, an assurance there won’t be a lot of single-use plastics, and they want healthy food options.

There were 658 submissions on the plan with 72 per cent supporting a kiosk; objectors raised some stern concerns.

John Viska was one of the authors of the 2003 Hyde Park conservation plan and is chair of the WA branch of the Australian Garden History Society. The AGHS’s national body has put Hyde Park put on its “landscapes at risk” list.

Mr Viska says activity around the trees could risk their health, and the park should remain a non-commercial zone (as it was before food trucks came along).  

Most councillors voted to seek tenders, but they’ll still have to approve an operator before they go ahead, and decide if food trucks should continue operating nearby.  

Cr Dan Loden described his vote as “conditional support: I’m supporting [council staff] continuing to look at this but the community has raised a number of very valid concerns about this opportunity, including how the waste will be collected, the impact on the neighbouring trees, the heritage approvals and the trading zone issue, the cost impost on the city of any desired outcome, the impacts on park amenity.”

Cr Jonathan Hallett noted the food vans were well-loved, but a kiosk was “a level of commercial encroachment on a public space with significant heritage value that doesn’t sit well with me”. 

Cr Alex Castle concurred: “I’m not at all convinced that this is necessarily the best option for Hyde Park. And I’m not in favour of an increase in intensity overall, whether that means only a kiosk or only food trucks remains to be seen from this process… and I agree with many of the comments from the gallery that the park in itself is a beautiful place to be that doesn’t require any further intensification to be relevant.”

But mayor Emma Cole sounded keener, noting the surge of feedback was one of the biggest in recent years, and putting it an existing building would ensure the impact was minimal.

by DAVID BELL

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