Launceston businesses are frustrated about the lack of council consultation ahead of a food van trial in the revamped Brisbane Street Mall.
News of the one-month trial, announced by the City of Launceston council on Friday, came as a shock to many of the city’s food businesses who say the plan will adversely affect their trade and do little to draw more foot traffic into the area.
The trial will see two successful applicants operate vans between 11am-7pm Monday to Thursday and 11am-4pm on Sundays throughout February.
Anita Grace has owned Cafe Bon Appetit for the past 10 years and was “not happy” about the plan, which would deliver a “hit that we can’t afford to have”.
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Ms Grace said her business sold a wide variety of food and the addition of extra food vendors would likely impact her bottom line.
“I’m sure all the other local businesses will be in the same boat,” she said.
“We didn’t know anything about it until it was in the newspaper. I think we should of all been consulted.”
A number of businesses have been speaking to share similar concerns.
Skye-Jilly Edwards established Sushi to Go in 2004 and also found out about the trial in The Examiner.
“It will cost everybody in our street,” Ms Edwards said. “There’s just so many variations of what they could do there instead.”
Addressing parking issues and a focus on events were just two of the things that could help bring people into the mall, she added.
City of Launceston general manager Michael Stretton said not all food businesses in the CBD had been “engaged”, but a process would take place throughout the trial and inform any decision on allowing the trucks on a permanent basis.
“We’re eager to experiment with various options to activate spaces like the Brisbane Street Mall and food vans are an obvious and inexpensive option to trial,” he said.
“They co-exist successfully with CBD businesses all around the world, and we believe it’s reasonable to investigate and understand if and how this may work in Launceston’s CBD.”
Research into the opening hours of surrounding businesses on Charles Street and east of the mall in Brisbane Street was used to inform the proposal.
Submissions for food van operators interested in the trial close at 2pm on Friday, January 18.
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Some Launceston eateries are frustrated about the lack of council consultation ahead of a food van trial in the revamped Brisbane Street Mall.