Conflict between mobile shop traders vying for the best spot at the popular Memorial Park playground has been blamed for an unpopular tightening of the rules by Tauranga City Council.
The council this week decided that traders would have to tender for three licensed sites on the central city's premier park, replacing the current first-come basis.
Busy Be Ice Cream mobile shop owner Ken Richardson said he had not witnessed any conflict. The problem had been caused by just one trader who had since moved on.
Mr Richardson said it was a shame that the council had introduced tendering on the basis of one issue.
He wished the council had instead increased the allocated sites to four to accommodate visits by The Coffee Guy and a hot food trailer, and kept it on the first-come basis rather than tendering for an annual licence.
His comments yesterday followed the council tightening its mobile shops policy, with a staff report saying competition for space had caused conflict at Memorial Park.
"A tendered licence approach will limit any potential future conflict," councillors were told.
Staff said that Blake Park and the 12 designated parking spots on Marine Parade next to
Main Beach had worked well since the tendered licence scheme was introduced. Prior to that, there had also been a number of issues at these sites needing a ''significant'' response by staff.
Licences for the three Memorial Park sites will take effect on October 1 next year. In the meantime, a maximum of three mobile shops would be allowed to operate at the park - an increase of one shop.
The council received 19 submissions to its draft policy, including mobile traders seeking to protect their interests. The new policy takes effect on October 1.
Mobile shops will be prohibited from trading along the stretch of Maranui St and Papamoa Beach Rd, from Sunrise Ave to 30 metres east of Coast Boulevard. Despite appeals that the ban would affect fruit and flower vendors, staff argued that there were safety concerns caused by the narrower road berm and high traffic volumes.
A major policy change would see the council adopt a different approach to traders, depending on whether they operated as part of a council-approved market or event, or whether they traded independently, like along roadsides.
Those trading independently would continue to require a mobile shop licence while event organisers who obtained council consent would set the conditions for traders operating in their event or market.
The council also agreed that the current tender process for mobile shops would be changed to make it more transparent and to encourage operators to minimise their environmental impact.
The number of mobile shops allowed to trade on Waipuna Park and Papamoa Domain have been increased from one to two shops. Five traders were permitted on Blake Park, with two each on the netball/tennis carpark and cricket oval carpark and one on the hockey field carpark.
Consultation included the council talking to key stakeholders including mobile traders, event organisers and reserve user groups.
Mobile shops allowed on city parks on a first-come basis
Four shops: Gordon Spratt Reserve
Two shops: Papamoa Domain, Waipuna Park, Greerton Park, Carlton Reserve, Fergusson Park
One shop: Harrisons Cut, Arataki Park, Links Ave Reserve, Macville Park, Rotary Park, Tye Park, Kulim Park