Food trucks, coffee vans and other roving vendors to hit the streets
Published on 03 May 2021
Roving food trucks, flower stalls and coffee vans could be a common sight in Hobsons Bay with the introduction of a new policy which will allow mobile vendors to access a permit to trade on public land for the first time in the municipality. Business owners, residents and visitors are invited to review and provide feedback on the draft policy which will be open for public consultation until 6 June.
The draft Mobile Vendors Policy will facilitate and manage the operation of both itinerant businesses and stationary vendors which are regularly parked at parks and other public spaces.
Itinerant vendors are currently not permitted to trade in Hobsons Bay and stationary food and retail operators are limited to six locations including Point Gellibrand Park, Newport and Altona Boat Ramps, Cherry Lake, Apex Park and Kororoit Creek Road.
During the COVID pandemic, exceptions were made to support businesses who relied on event based work and were provided with free permits under the COVID support package while the draft Mobile Vendors Policy was being developed.
The draft Mobile Vendors Policy would allow business owners to apply for a permit to operate from either an existing or new approved location or as an itinerant/roaming vendor.
To balance the interests of all business owners, the draft policy considers the location and proximity of itinerant vendors to existing stationary vendors or ‘brick and mortar’ businesses, which Council is seeking feedback on.
The draft policy considers equity between businesses that trade in a fixed location and pay many thousands of dollars in rent, rates and state taxes (as well as permit fees), and businesses that are trading from public land and using all the services residents and traders pay for through their rates.
Under the proposed structure, mobile vendors would be asked to pay either a daily, monthly or annual permit fee in addition to a one-off registration fee. The proposed fee schedule is based on existing roadside vendor permit fees and takes into consideration the increased flexibility available to itinerant vendors.
The draft policy was developed considering sector benchmarking of 43 councils across Australia, as well as recent and previous feedback. It takes into consideration factors such as public safety and equity for businesses that trade from a fixed location.
The draft Mobile Vendors Policy is available for review and feedback until 6 June, including the number of proposed settings, at https://participate.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au/mobile-vendor-policy
Quotes attributable to Mayor of Hobsons Bay Cr Jonathon Marsden:
“We’re excited at the prospect of welcoming itinerant traders to Hobsons Bay. When managed appropriately, these types of business can contribute to creating a vibrant and diverse local economy, attracting visitors and providing a convenient service to those visiting our sportsgrounds, playgrounds and other glorious open spaces.
“During COVID, we made a special case for one of our local itinerant traders to travel around Hobsons Bay selling ice-cream and the sound of the ice-cream truck did wonders to raise spirits during lockdown.
“The draft policy aims to balance the needs of local businesses, who were also hit hard during the pandemic, with the opportunity to have roving vendors.
“This is an issue that affects the entire community so we are looking forward to receiving feedback to ensure our policy strikes the right balance.”