More food vans to roll in

Sophia ConstantineNorth West Telegraph
Vendors Putri Bilda and Rapie Bilda.
Camera IconVendors Putri Bilda and Rapie Bilda. Credit: Sophia Constantine

More food vans are set to hit the streets of Hedland after councillors agreed to the provision of more licences.

Town Of Port Hedland councillors agreed to approve three new applications and the renewal of seven existing licences for a 12-month period at their meeting last week.

Cr Julie Arif said it was positive to see more vendors coming into town because it provided Hedland with an opportunity to keep up with a trend modern cities were partaking in all over the world.

“I think it’s great that these are in town,” she said.

“It adds a sense of variety and vibrancy. They can pop up at places fixed premises cannot.”

But as part of debate on the agenda item, two councillors argued the fees for operators should be increased.

The current annual licensing fee for mobile food businesses includes a $59 application fee and $1260 registration fee under the 2016-17 budget.

Cr Richard Whitwell said the fees were too cheap and should be increased by 50 per cent.

He said there was already competition in town which made it difficult for businesses that were not able to move around.

Cr David Hooper agreed the fees should be raised by 25-50 per cent.

“We don’t want to negatively impact these businesses,” he said.

“However, I feel there needs to be a fee that brings more comparison with the restaurants that are fixed-based and pay rates. Earlier this year, food vendors setting up shop at Dreamers Corner in South Hedland were told to pack up and leave the area for seven days because they were in breach of Town policy.

The trading in public places policy states no more than three vendors at once can use the nominated sites.

Mayor Camilo Blanco said after initially having to impose a temporary ban, he was pleased the vendors were able to resolve the issue by creating their own roster system.

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