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Council to conduct consultation about bringing food trucks to city

Read the article by Ashleigh Tullis in The Illawarra Mercury, 20 November 2018

Council to conduct consultation about bringing food trucks to city

Councillor Mithra Cox wants to make it easier for food truck vendors to operate and contribute to a vibrant night life in Wollongong and other suburbs.

Cr David Brown said consultation was needed before a strategy was developed because otherwise the idea could “get out of control quickly”.

Councillors were concerned the trucks could compete with established restaurants.

“There are a range of people we need to talk to,” Cr Brown said. “We don’t want food trucks to compete with bricks and mortar restaurants.”

However, Cr Cox agreed and said food trucks often attracted different customers and would bring new foodies to the area.

“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,” she said.

“They promote community safety and harmony, as they generally do not sell alcohol and appeal to all ages, including children and older people.

“Food trucks help activate public spaces.

“We should be trying to enliven dead areas such as Wollongong Station which can feel like a dodgy area at night.

“Once a strategy is developed then there should be trial and then an evaluation to see the strategy’s long-term suitability.”

Councillor Leigh Colacino said he loved the idea of having more food trucks in the city.

“We need to identify public land where the vendors can set up and that shouldn’t be limited to the CBD,” he said.

“We need to be careful to support local businesses and not jeopardise their trade.”

The council will investigate where vendors can setup on public land, where there needs to be more night life and food options, a simple process to book a space, review the existing policy and will draw on experience from other councils.