By Contributor | News.com.au
MILLIONAIRE property tycoon George Polites says Adelaide City Council should protect established city businesses by banning mobile food trucks and pulling support for pop-up venues such as the Royal Croquet Club.
Mr Polites is the chief executive of the Polites Group, a significant landholder in the city, and he sent councillors a three-page letter expressing his concerns about the impact of the increasing number of food vans and pop-up bars on bricks-and-mortar businesses.
A copy of the letter was leaked to The Advertiser and it claims the council was on a “path to total self-destruction and insolvency” if it continued to allow food trucks and pop-up venues to trade.
“At the end of the day, the mobile food vans have to go,” Mr Polites writes.
“There should not be any mobile food vans in an environment where you have a conflicting business system that is already fragile.”
But some mobile food vendors have moved to set up a permanent presence in the city.
Phat Buddha Rolls mobile food truck manager Joel Schulz said the company was looking to set up a permanent store after its early successes.
“We are looking to set up in the city and that wouldn’t have been possible without starting with the food truck,” he said.
“And we have a bricks-and-mortar place (in Torrensville) that we prepare the food so it is up to standard.”
Burger Theory has set up a city store, in Union St, after the success of its food truck.
Mr Schulz said there did need to be improved regulation of the number of food trucks allowed to trade.
“There’s no way they (food trucks) should be banned, but we need to have a cap so that is sustainable with our population,” he said.
Mr Polites also criticised the proliferation of pop-up bars during the Fringe and Festival and the condition Victoria Square was left in after being used by the temporary Royal Croquet Club.
“A number of people have complained to us that their figures were down during that period and they would have preferred that they had an opportunity to take advantage of the peak season during that period,” he said.
“I drove past Victoria Square and it is desecrated. It’s all just dirt.”
A council spokeswoman said the Royal Croquet Club and Tour Down Under were contributing to the remediation costs of the square but did not comment on the claims made by Mr Polites.
TheAdvertiser understands the council will formally respond to Mr Polites this week.
Mr Polites said the increasing number of food vans and pop-up bars would drive down CBD rents and also the council’s rate revenue.
“Something has to break and unfortunately this is not a situation where the outlook for the council’s revenue is going to end up favourably,” he said.