Yarrawonga-Mulwala Tourism and Business group calls special meeting to deal with Food Truck festival bid

Doug Evans

Doug Evans

YARRAWONGA-Mulwala Tourism and Business has called a special meeting on Monday to decide on a position on the Food Truck festival planning application.

The body has committed to making a submission to Moira Council ahead of the October 16 deadline for the application to host food truck events on private land from the middle of December to the end of January and peak tourism periods into next year, including Easter and Anzac Day.

YMTB chairman Doug Evans said the meeting would give all members a chance to have a say.

“It’s really a council matter and a council planning matter, but the board will discuss and decide what their position is,” he said.

“We’ve got a big cross section of members, but not all are in that particular industry.”

Mr Evans said he expected the planning application to be dealt with by the council and not handled under delegation to council staff.

Food Truck director Mark Lipshut said the inaugural event last year was a tourism success story, but a change in format was decided.

“The Food Truck Carnival is committed to supporting local communities and working with them to create mutually beneficial events,” he said.

“With this in mind, we have reviewed our event plan and have come up with a revised approach that we think will continue to attract visitors to the region, while addressing some of the concerns of local traders.

“This revised event will be on a smaller scale to last year, but will run for a longer period of time, with the intention of creating a vibrant summer attraction in Yarrawonga to continue to attract more tourists to the region.”

Mr Lipshut said analysis from the Yarrawonga event last summer showed a high number of people from Albury attended, which has led to a proposed joint venture with the SS&A Club.

“As per the planning permit, we are hoping to work with SS&A to create a unique event for the local community, in turn boosting tourism and providing locals with a new experience,” he said.”

“Based on the visitor attendance and attraction of past events, we do not feel this event will adversely affect local traders.

“On the contrary, we think it will attract more visitors to the region and deliver an economic boost for the local community.”

Former Moira councillor and Yarrawonga business owner Judy Cooper urged the council to oppose the Food Truck application.

“It decimated the community last year,” she said.

“I know business so close to breaking point and this will just knock them off.

“It is far-reaching and is not just the food businesses.

“I copped some negative feedback for comments I made last year, but I will fight it again as I believe it is totally unfair.”

The SS&A Club has submitted plans for a Food Truck event in its car park between December and May next year.

The proposal has already upset one Dean Street business owner, Scott Kidd.

“I am a big supporter of big one-off events coming to town,” he said.

“The ones held in QEII Square are fantastic, but for a few weeks in peak periods is not on.

“A lot of businesses need to make their money over Christmas and pay the wages of people who are putting money back into the community.

“We still need big events, but not something that is going to bleed us dry for longer.

“I’m already paying council rates and for seats out the front and I’m already competing against two businesses subsidised by council closeby.

“What they’re suggesting is over the top.”