Shire of Mundaring puts food trucks into gear

WA Mobile Food Vendors Association vice-president Sandra Bahbah serves a customer from her Middle Eastern food van.
WA Mobile Food Vendors Association vice-president Sandra Bahbah serves a customer from her Middle Eastern food van.

THE WA Mobile Food Vendors Association is welcoming the Shire of Mundaring’s decision to allow food trucks to operate at selected locations in the shire.

Councillors voted 6-3 at the ordinary meeting on April 4 to allow mobile vendors to trade from the Chidlow Oval, Sawyers Valley Oval, Sculpture Park in Mundaring and Brown Park in Swan View but voted to omit Morgan John Morgan Reserve in Glen Forrest over concerns it would negatively impact on nearby businesses.

Shire President David Lavell said there was significant interest from people wishing to establish food stalls, particularly the Sculpture Park.

Cr Lavell said the draft policy would provide a guide for assessing and determining applications for mobile vendors wanting to operate on Shire land.

“The Shire has received a number of requests from mobile vendors who wish to trade on Shire owned and managed land such as parks, ovals and recreation facilities,” he said.

“This draft policy will guide the type and location of vendors that could be considered so we are fair and consistent.

“It will also better utilise our public open spaces and make them more vibrant and welcoming.

“There are concerns mobile vendors pose a potential risk to brick and mortar businesses and that is why as part of the conditions a mobile vendor is not to be located within 100m from an existing food premises offering similar services.”

While councillors Patrick Bertola and Stephen Fox argued the small number of locations was too limiting, the majority disagreed.

Cr James Martin said the Shire needed to embrace food trucks and the locations approved would serve the community well, whilst protecting vital café businesses.

“Cafes are an important business and community hub,” he said.

“The shops around Morgan John Morgan are a great hub and I certainly wouldn’t want to see these hubs closing down by the actions of the Shire.

“However we can’t be the last shire supporting the horse and carriage. We need to be progressive.”

In its submission on the policy, the Darlington Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association opposed mobile vendors operating in the suburb, due to its threat to local fundraising efforts and businesses.

“Although Darlington Oval has not been identified as a location at this stage, concerns were raised that during the cricket and football seasons, parents fundraise for the junior sporting clubs with sausage sizzles and cool drink,” the submission said.

“It is most important that any vendor being considered not be in competition with local fundraising efforts.”

The Shire said under the policy, mobile vendors must obtain written approval from the president of the relevant sporting club or group if they wished to use the space at the same time as the club.

WA Mobile Food Vendors Association vice-president Sandra Bahbah said mobile vendors and sporting clubs could have a mutually beneficial co-existence.

“There is room for community sporting groups to work with mobile vendors to serve food or coffee and pay a percentage of the profits back to the club,” she said,

“I have worked with football clubs where instead of them operating a canteen they get a food truck in and we pay them a fee or give them a percentage of sales.

“It takes away that fear that the canteen will not be profitable for the club.”

Ms Bahbah, who operates Meast, said the policy adopted by the Shire was a sensible start for a small local government.

“Mobile vendors build atmosphere and a community vibe in public places,” she said.

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