Mobile food bylaw could be relaxed after feedback

Andrew Noone
Andrew Noone
Mobile food traders could soon be dotted around Dunedin's central city, and potentially along the main shopping streets, under a proposed relaxation of the bylaw governing where they can operate.

A councillor subcommittee reviewing the Dunedin City Council's mobile trading bylaw is to recommend the council adopt a revised bylaw that removes a rule restricting mobile shops or stalls from operating within 300m of another premises selling similar products.

Traders were united in concern about the 300m rule's continued inclusion in a revised version of the bylaw that the council consulted on last year.

In multiple submissions, they explained how the rule affected their financial viability by basically forcing them out of the central city area, with some having to operate outside the law to make a living.

They were also concerned about the negative connotations of the bylaw, which they felt was too focused on requirements under the Local Government Act to protect the public from nuisance.

The amended bylaw, arrived at after the subcommittee spent several hours working through amendments yesterday, places the emphasis instead on mobile trading adding character, vibrancy and other benefits to the city, while still ensuring appropriate health and safety standards and legislative requirements are met.

If adopted, it would also allow traders to operate from the same site for up to 12 hours, increased from a previous limit of two hours.

It still restricts mobile traders from operating in parks and reserves, including car parks and roads in reserves, and in George St, Princes St, the Octagon, lower Stuart St and Moray Pl, although the subcommittee asked council staff to seek legal advice on whether the latter restrictions could be dropped.

Traders yesterday greeted the news with delight.

Hannah Scott, the representative of a small group of traders that united to fight for bylaw changes, said traders only learnt of the proposed changes at yesterday's hearing, but those who had heard were very happy about the dropping of the 300m rule, and would be ''insanely happy'' if the restrictions were also dropped on the other streets.

The relaxation of the bylaw would mean areas such as the southern end of the CBD, where there were fewer food outlets, could be serviced by mobile traders. It also meant traders could operate without being worried about breaking the 300m rule.

Some people would now be able to set up a mobile shop outside their business, she said.

The subcommittee, of chairman Cr Andrew Noone, Crs Jinty MacTavish and Hilary Calvert, resolved to seek approval for the amended bylaw at the council's February 24 meeting.

Cr Noone said the councillors, particularly Cr MacTavish, had worked hard to make the changes following clear feedback from the mobile trader community.

The discussion had also raised the issue of a significant overlap in the rules governing different activities in public places, for example mobile trading, skating and the commercial use of footpaths, he said.

This resulted in a separate recommendation the council draft the bylaw as part of a broader bylaw encompassing all commercial and community use of the city's public spaces.

The amended mobile trading bylaw could be adopted in the interim while that work was done.



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