Complaint prompts street trade review

A complaint from Balclutha greengrocers about competitive disadvantage has prompted the regulatory services committee to recommend the Clutha District Council reviews its trading in public places bylaw.

The problem was raised by Nancy Young, owner and operator of a Clyde St greengrocer's shop, during the public forum of a Clutha District Council standing committee meeting last Thursday.

Mrs Young was representing Balclutha's two greengrocers' shops whose owners want the council to review a bylaw that allows trading in public places.

Local retailers had fixed cost overheads like rent and wages to pay, and made a year-long contribution to the local economy.

Their livelihood was being threatened by seasonal street traders, who could set up anywhere, trade all hours of the day and pay no overhead costs, she said.

"Both the greengrocers' shops in Balclutha have been operating for over 40 years ... [We] urge council to change the bylaws to protect local greengrocers," she said.

Planning and environment manager Murray Brass, said when the conditions of the bylaw were put in place the council was not thinking about the competitive aspects of how street traders affected local businesses.

Having itinerant traders could be good for the local community, and the question was whether there should be greater restrictions on them, he said.

Changes to the bylaw could also have an effect on community groups' fundraising, he said.

There were two options available to the council - restricting hawkers to farmers markets, or placing time limits on trading.

Mayor Juno Hayes, along with councillors Ted Gallagher, Bruce McCorkindale, John Cochrane, Jeff Seymour and Mary Johnstone all called for the committee to recommend reviewing the bylaw.

Any changes to the bylaw would need council resolutions and public consultation, Mr Brass said.

The matter will be decided by the council on September 16.

- rachel.taylor@odt.co.nz

 

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