Bid to flip van ban flops

A LAST-GASP bid to keep food trucks in Hyde Park has flopped.

In December most of Vincent council voted to lease out the park’s western storage shed to the owners of Veggie Mama to set up a food kiosk.

One proviso was the existing Hyde Park food trucks would have to move out and not compete with the new cafe. 

This devastated What the Flip food van owner Islam Bouyahia, who said his business’s survival relied on a loyal following and many friends he’d made among the regular parkgoers. 

At Vincent’s AGM of electors in February, food truck fan Tom Young moved a motion calling for the kiosk plan to be cancelled and a “proper independent survey be conducted”, as he viewed the council’s initial public consultation as flawed.

He said Vincent’s generous deal with Veggie Mama, which involves the council paying $55,000 to upgrade the building and giving Veggie Mama three months’ free rent, was the “worst deal” he had ever seen.

The motion was backed by attendees, meaning the council had to consider it at a future meeting, but it’s not scheduled for debate until April.

Kiosk deal

This week Cr Ross Ioppolo moved an urgent motion seeking to halt the kiosk deal. 

Mr Ioppolo, who in December had voted against the food trucks being kicked, proposed “that council instructs the CEO to defer making any further legally or financially binding operational decisions” until Mr Young’s AGM motion was properly voted on.

When council voted in December Cr Ron Alexander had to sit out under conflict of interest rules due to living too close to the park.

But this week he said after undertaking his new councillor training he believed he was entitled to a vote under the “interest in common” provision that lets councillors still vote if they’re affected by an issue the same way as a large number of citizens.

A 40-minute debate ensued over the technicalities and he was eventually excluded from the vote and the decision to delay was lost 2:5, with just Crs Ioppolo and Ashley Wallace in favour.

That mirrors December’s vote to bring in the kiosk and oust the food trucks, auguring poorly for any chance future votes on Mr Young’s AGM motion will undo that decision. 

Even without the kiosk moving in, the council’s been planning for a while to dislodge the food trucks from being semi-permanent fixtures. Their original plan was to have them setting up in different spots and not always parked in one park, but that slipped by the wayside for a couple of years and a few vans became rusted on to favourite spots. 

by DAVID BELL

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