Tania Davey has owned and operated BOD studios in the main street of Woombye for the last five years with racks of clothing on display out the front of her shop; but a visit from a council representative has left her shocked. The council representative hand delivered an application to Tania for a licence to put her stock on the footpath and she has only seven days to complete the forms and prepare for an audit as well. A council spokesperson said the existing fees and charges for footpath trading have been in place since the council amalgamations.
In response Tania said it is not the fact she has to pay a fee it is the cost of the application; a non-refundable $391.00 and the set up fee is $182.00 as well as a goods on footpath fee. Small business owners are challenged in these economic times but council said the fees have been developed to ensure conduct for footpath trading across the region is fair and equitable, and provide flexible arrangements in relation to the type of furniture businesses can use on council land.
Nearby business owner Brian Birrell said it is not fair for businesses to have to pay a fee and the most important thing is the street is kept tidy. The council spokesperson said the Council is supportive of local business using public land to complement their business and provide opportunities for them to use up to 12 square meters of land for outdoor dining for just $95 a year. Additional fees apply for the use of more land.
Tania has taken her stock inside again and is considering her options. She said it is better for all the adjacent businesses when our stock is on display, without it the street just looks dead. The Gazette will keep you informed on this matter.