Council to act on mobile traders

By John Cousins

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The 60-minute rule to control how long Tauranga mobile shop traders are allowed to park in one spot has been found to be virtually unenforceable.

City council corporate solicitor Jo Gread said the restriction was unclear and did not include enough detail to be enforceable, unless the vehicle in question remained completely stationary.

This and other issues around how mobile traders operated in Tauranga led to the council deciding yesterday to tighten the rules.

The pressure to review the policy has been driven by the operations of the cluster of traders at the Mt Drury end of Mount Main Beach.

It came to a head at a meeting on January 8 involving councillors David Stewart and Wayne Moultrie, staff and eight food retailers trading around the intersection of Marine Parade and Adams Ave.

Much of the discussion was around the "proliferation of traders", the 60 minute rule, the loss of carparks and the displaying of licences.

Mr Whippy operator Nicholas Wynne confessed to councillors yesterday that he had resorted to "subversive tactics" to ensure he had a carpark. This involved parking a car overnight to secure his spot until he arrived the next day in his van.

Monte Gelato retailer Don Skidmore, wearing his resident's hat, complained how the mobile shops had changed a pristine beachfront into a commercial precinct.

Councillor Stewart said there was more to the issue than had been acknowledged. There were issues with the size of the mobile shops and the number of carparks being taken up. Two or three cars were being strategically parked so that the trader could move around during the course of the day.

"It is difficult for staff to enforce the provisions of the policy, particularly the 60-minute rule."

He said the noise of a generator going day and night on a tattooist's bus had created conflict with nearby residents.

"There needs to be a proper allocation of space and agreement of what is fair and reasonable. It is timely to review it [the policy] so that people can get on with their lives peacefully."

The review would be open to public submissions and Mayor Stuart Crosby successfully sought to limit the scope of the review so it did not become a debate about the principle of mobile shops but dealt with issues like the scale of shops and operating times.

"We have been debating this for about 20 years. It is about as bad as trees, to be honest."

Councillor Murray Guy said the crux of the matter had more to do with the fact that the mobile shops were competitors.

Councillor Terry Molloy said he understood the tension but mobile traders added to the ambience.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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