Oh mama!

Islam Bouyahia was in tears at the thought of losing the business he built up in Hyde Park.

Tears as What the Flip loses its spot at Hyde Park 

A BUSINESS owner was brought to tears by a Vincent council decision that’ll see his food van banned from operating in Hyde Park.

Vincent council will instead lease a storage shed in part of the park’s western building to the operators of Mount Lawley’s Veggie Mama for $30,000 a year; the lowest end of the estimated $30,000 to $60,000 market value. The council will also pay $55,000 to upgrade the building, and the tenant gets nine months rent free and pays no water or electricity bills for the first five-year term.

The new kiosk has also been given exclusive rights to the park, and the three food vans operating there will have to move out. The council’s mobile vendor policy says food vans can’t operate within 100m of a permanent food business, and they’ve decided to apply it even when moving in a new operation. 

What the Flip van owner Islam Bouyahia had pleaded with Vincent council to allow him to stay. 

Councillors Ashley Wallace, Ross Ioppolo and Ron Alexander opposed the kiosk plan, but Cr Alexander was prevented from voting due to living too close to the park. A majority of councillors; Alex Castle, Susan Gontaszewski, Jonathan Hallett, Dan Loden and mayor Emma Cole voted in favour of the kiosk to the exclusion of all others.

As the vote dawned on Mr Bouyahia he was overcome by emotion, standing up in the public gallery and telling councillors running a business is “not easy! It’s not easy!”

He howled: “It’s not right! This is not right!” as mayor Emma Cole asked him to leave the chamber. 

Security arrived and Mr Bouyahia left with them, then they locked the council building’s doors.

Cr Gontaszewski said the original intent of the food van policy was not to give businesses a permanent spot. 

Ms Cole said from the council’s consultation it was clear that people wanted a food offering in Hyde Park, but she believed the kiosk in an existing building was a less obtrusive way to go about it than having food trucks right by the lake. 

She clarified the kiosk would have meat options and ice cream, and said the initial plan for occasional liquor licences for special events was now off the table and the lease required no liquor be sold there.

“I do feel for Izzy and What the Flip, and I understand the passion he brings to his business and the offering it attracts,” Ms Cole said.

“We would love to see him operating at Banks Reserve.”

Outside Mr Bouhayia was in tears as supporters consoled him, and he said this would be the end of his business as he relied on the loyal customer base he’d built up at Hyde Park. 

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