Wollongong’s restrictive rules on food trucks could be eased under a new proposal from a Greens councillor.
The tucker trucks have been a global phenomenon in recent years, riding the wave of popularity for casual eats and small, pop-up venues.
But while some cities have benefited from the vehicles, others have been left out and this includes Wollongong, where rules prevent mobile vendors within 500m of any council leased-or-licensed kiosk.
Greens councillor Mithra Cox has a motion before next Monday’s meeting of Wollongong City Council to review the rules and process for gaining approval for a food truck.
“Food trucks are increasingly popular in cites around the world, and have been used successfully to promote nightlife, and give people a reason to use our public spaces at night,” Cr Cox said.
“They promote community safety and harmony, as they generally do not sell alcohol, and appeal to all ages, including children and older people.
This strategy should be aimed at encouraging food trucks, not prohibiting themCr Mithra Cox
“Having this mix of ages mingling of an evening is a powerful contributor to a sense of vibrancy and safety in public spaces.”
Food trucks are allowed at Bald Hill, Flagstaff Hill and Mt Keira, but only after a “competitive process” that could be tender or quote, council’s policy says.
They are specifically prohibited within 500m from council licensed cafes and kiosks including at Stanwell Park, Thirroul Beach, Port Kembla Pool, Corrimal Tourist Park, Bulli Beach, North Wollongong Beach and the Lagoon restaurant – that is, many of the most popular tourist and visitor spots.
“Some of these locations could and should support evening food trucks without competing with local businesses,” Cr Cox said.
“Many places along the foreshore are popular in the day but deserted in the evening due to lack of food options.
“This strategy should be aimed at encouraging food trucks, not prohibiting them.
“It should identify areas in need of night time activation, where they will not compete with bricks and mortar businesses. It should make it easy for food truck vendors to see when and where they can trade, and have a simple process for booking a space and paying fees.”