By Tim Williams | Adelaide Now
A council committee has backed a staff recommendation to cut the proposed number of permits from 50 to 40, despite research confirming only a minority are trading on any given day.
The mobile food sellers will also pay higher fees.
Under the new fee structure, sellers will pay a flat $1000 for a six month permit, or seek a permit valid for any 10 days over six months for $500.
A second 10-day permit would cost $350 and a third would be $150 and usable for all days in the rest of the six-month period.
For its trial scheme the council last year issued 52 permits, of which 39 are still being used, and previously recommended 50 as the upper limit for a permanent program starting in August.
Some councillors had previously called for a cap as low as 20 because of the vans’ impact on bricks and mortar businesses.
A council report tabled at the meeting said eight food vans were trading four to five days a week and a further six were trading up to three days.
There were eight trading no more than once a week and six opening monthly or less, while nine set up only at organised events where the permits are not required and two were yet to start trading.
The report said the smaller the number of permits, the higher fees would have to be set to cover the council’s administrative costs.
“The increase would result in an unviable fee for smaller and part-time vendors, potentially negatively impacting on the diversity of traders and positive public engagement and enjoyment of the mobile food vending program,” it said.
But Cr Sandy Wilkinson, who maintained the mobile sellers are getting an easy ride, pushed for fees of $3000 a year for sellers to cover the cost of an indpendent economic analysis of their impact on shops.
He proposed a maximum of 20 vans be allowed to trade on any one day.
Cr Wilkinson also proposed a review after a year to establish a scale of fees based on the commercial value of the locations where food sellers set up.
He said in Melbourne, the fees ranged from $400 to $1800 a month, and only one food truck was allowed in the CBD and eight in parklands by the city so as not to compete with bricks and mortar shops.
Council staff told the meeting that the fees proposed by Cr Wilkinson would force the less profitable stalls and carts out of business, leaving the city with only a handful of mobile traders.