Redland City Council red tape is stopping business at Macleay Island, says coffee van owner

SET UP: Hugh Strachan's food and coffee van.

SET UP: Hugh Strachan's food and coffee van.

A COFFEE van owner says council bureaucracy is stopping him from doing business at Macleay Island ferry terminal car parking.

Hugh Strachan said he began seeking approvals to operate his van at the terminal 12 months ago but was still waiting for Redland City Council to give the go ahead.

Mr Strachan submitted a petition to council last month calling for his matter to be prioritised.

He said the delay meant locals missed out on coffee, he missed out on business for his Bay Islands Coffee and Juice Van and young people missed out on casual employment.

“There are no other food vans on Macleay Island nor does anyone else want to open early hours to service the work community nor people going to the mainland,” he said.

“The community want me at the ferry but the council don’t care.”

A council spokesperson said extensive redevelopment of car parking had caused delays in council’s consideration of a mobile food and beverage vendor at the site.

Council was developing a policy around the temporary commercial use of council park land and open space, which would first need to be approved before permits could be issued.

“The policy, which is due soon, will ensure council has a process that is respectful of existing businesses of a similar nature, the local amenity and the safety of potential users when considering permitting such temporary commercial activities,” the spokesperson said.

Mr Strachan said he did not understand the delays.

All he wanted to do was park his van and serve coffee to commuters but had been given conflicting information from council officers over the past year.

He said he was first told by council that his van could be set up beside the road as another business had done previously.

But that option was later ruled out because the location was on state government property.

Mr Strachan said council told him that he could run his business at the terminal’s car parking when it opened.

The ferry car parking has since been completed but Mr Strachan said his application was then further delayed, to his frustration.

“I kept getting told that I am in the system,” he said.

“Now recently they told me that they will look at it at the end of the next financial quarter and now they tell me that it is in control by the mayor’s office and councillors.”

Mr Stachan said he believed the inertia pointed to council’s lack of interest in supporting small business and boosting Southern Moreton Bay Islands economies.

“I have tried to do it ... with council and not against, yet I seem to be going nowhere. I’m going backwards.”