A debate about revising Dunedin City Council's mobile
trading bylaw turned to the use of the city's public spaces in
general yesterday, resulting in an entirely new proposal for
the council to consider.
The hearings committee of Crs Andrew Noone (chairman), Jinty
MacTavish and Hilary Calvert was deliberating on submissions
on a proposed 10-yearly revision of the mobile trading bylaw.
The proposed bylaw is little changed from the existing bylaw
and mobile traders have banded together to express their
concerns that it is too restrictive for them to flourish,
meet the increasing expectations of their customers, or
contribute to increasing the city's vibrancy.
They also say it is out of step with the bylaws of other
cities around the world.
During discussions with council staff Cr MacTavish said one
thing that appealed from her research on mobile trading rules
in other cities, was Wellington's bylaw governing the
temporary use of public places in the city.
The bylaw was an overarching catch-all policy covering the
commercial and community use of public places, that contained
subsections on specific uses, such as mobile trading and the
commercial use of footpaths.
The DCC has separate bylaws for each of those activities.
Cr MacTavish said a broad-brush policy appealed because it
did not pigeonhole users of public places.
Given the council was revisiting the bylaws governing mobile
trading, commercial use of footpaths and skating, which could
also be included in a catch-all policy, it seemed like a good
time to think about going down that path, she said.
She asked staff it they saw any benefit in it. Those present,
mostly members of the parks and reserves and environmental
health departments, said they did but they would need
direction from the council to start investigating it.
Cr Noone agreed there was merit in the idea, and that the
whole committee was of the view there was now a need for a
change of tack.
It would adjourn its deliberations, anyway, while it sought
clarification on legal matters and other issues concerning
the mobile trading bylaw and would now also seek council
approval early in the new year about developing a catch-all
bylaw on the temporary use of public places.
Another round of community consultation, including hearings,
would be required if the council endorsed that
recommendation, Cr Noone said.
The committee began its deliberations by trying to set down
its philosophical approach to mobile trading.
It agreed that the objective of any bylaw had to be to bring
vibrancy and character to the city's public places and meet
the expectations of people living in an urban environment
while ensuring the public's health and safety.
Mobile trading should also work to enhance the function of
public spaces, provide small business opportunities, and
contribute to achieving the council's other strategic goals,
such as those set out in its economic development and spatial
Cr MacTavish noted the latter elements would have to be
achieved outside a bylaw.
''We need to step back and think how mobile trading
contributes to improving our urban environment - and a bylaw
will only be one tool to achieve that.''
Several mobile traders were present at the hearing and
afterwards said they were happy the council was seriously
considering reshaping the mobile trading bylaw, and that it
was responding to their concerns, even though it seemed
likely it would be some time before any changes were made.
''I'd much rather continue working knowing something was
going to change, than knowing it wasn't,'' Kim Morgan, from
Tex Otago, said.