DISBELIEF: Cafe Casa owner Peter Dixon will remain restricted to running his business from private car parks.
DISBELIEF: Cafe Casa owner Peter Dixon will remain restricted to running his business from private car parks. Mike Richards GLA200917CVAN

Left by the roadside: Council votes down coffee van

THE OWNER of a Gladstone mobile coffee business says he is disappointed with the council's decision to refuse his application to sell coffee from roadside locations around the city.

Peter Dixon, the owner of Cafe Casa, said the decision meant his customers would just have to walk further to get the coffee they wanted.

"(When I heard the outcome) I was in a little bit of disbelief," he said.

"The council is one of my biggest customers as well."

Mr Dixon applied about six weeks ago for the permit, which would have allowed him to park by the road for periods of up to 15 minutes at locations including Goondoon St, Toolooa St and Yarroon St outside GPC.

Councillors present at Tuesday's meeting voted unanimously to deny the application because it was "not in keeping with the intent" of the council's roadside vending policy.

The policy was altered in February to accommodate footpath dining and allow the Gladstone City Farmers Markets to go ahead.

DISBELIEF: Cafe Casa owner Peter Dixon will remain restricted to running his business from private car parks.
DISBELIEF: Cafe Casa owner Peter Dixon will remain restricted to running his business from private car parks. Mike Richards GLA200917CVAN

Several councillors at the meeting, including Kahn Goodluck and PJ Sobhanian, raised concerns about the van's potential proximity to existing coffee shops.

Cr Goodluck said he wasn't convinced the impact on nearby businesses would be limited by the van's 15-minute time limit.

"There's lots of people out there looking for new innovative ways to make money, so we want to allow that," he said.

"But the intent of the policy was not to duplicate services and put more pressures on our existing businesses.

"We've got to be fair across the board."

Councillor Peter Masters also voted to deny the application after it was made clear the van would be able to continue operating on private land - but said the council had to be wary of sending mixed messages.

"What we've got to do is give clear, precise messages to our business community so they know the parameters they can work within," he said.

"When your region's so big, it's hard to get a policy that encompasses everyone."

The policy will now be reviewed - but Mr Dixon said he would wait for the final version to be decided on before reapplying.

"Gladstone at the moment needs all the help it can get... I certainly wouldn't be trying to deter any business from having a go," he said.

"Some of those sites are so far from anywhere else... some of them have been my customers for years.

"I think it's up to the individual what product they want to choose.

"(My van) is an alternative and it's optional."



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