Council adopts policy to balance business benefit and community safety

Published on 25 November 2021

Following consultation with the community and local businesses, Baw Baw Shire Council has adopted a Roadside and Footpath Trading Policy that balances opportunity for traders with public enjoyment, enhanced accessibility and safety for motorists and pedestrians. 

Council is committed to developing vibrant communities and supporting our local business. It recognises that roadside and footpath trading is a key component to creating inviting and economically thriving towns.  

The Roadside and Footpath Trading Policy sees to it that businesses are supported with access to outdoor trading opportunities, while ensuring that the legislated requirements for accessibility, safety and access to public land are met, and abiding with the National Competition Policy. 

The new Policy also aims to facilitate a smooth application process for businesses by providing a clear, consistent, and coordinated process for the assessment of roadside and footpath trading permit applications. 

The newly adopted Policy significantly updates the previous policy adopted in 2017. The new Policy has been carefully reviewed for currency and consistency, to addresses emerging issues identified by community, businesses and key stakeholders, and to ensure that the Policy is easily understood and practically enforceable.  

A draft version of the Policy was put on public exhibition for community and business consultation for four weeks throughout August and September this year. The adopted Policy includes amendments suggested through the feedback process, including additional clarification for goods and furniture in the ‘pedestrian zone’ and amended decisions guidelines to more readily accommodate determinations in cases with special circumstances. 

To view the policy in full, please visit Council’s Policies and Documents webpage

Quote attributable to Mayor Cr Michael Leaney 

“We know that some sectors of the business community have been doing it tough over the past two years. As a Council, we want to do everything we can to support our retailers, hospitality and roadside traders and make sure they have every opportunity to bounce back now that we’re opening back up. 

What we’re striving for is that sweet spot where we’re giving businesses as much support and freedom as we can, without hindering public safety or accessibility. It’s a fine balance to take into account motorists, pedestrians, the needs of people with a disability and all the legislated requirements, including National Competition Policy, without making the process too onerous for our local businesses. 

That’s what this Policy does. I believe it hits that balance while also making the application process clearer and easier for our local businesses - both fixed and mobile. It’s a great outcome for traders as well as all residents and visitors.” 

Quote attributable to Deputy Mayor Cr Annemarie McCabe

“I’d like to thank the businesses and community members for contributing to the consultation process, and note that their submissions have contributed to amendments being made to this policy.

To have a policy that regulates everything that this policy does, while achieving minimal impact on pedestrians – and particularly their safety – is a good thing. I believe this policy has been able to balance the needs of pedestrians and business owners alike. It’s a good outcome for all.”  

Quote attributable to Cr Tricia Jones

“The value of roadside and footpath trading and its contribution to enhancing town vibrancy and business sustainability is clear.  This policy has sought to balance not only any competing interests - for example between ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses and pop-up food trucks - but also the potential conflict between pedestrians/vehicles and other roadside and footpath users.

As always, I’d like to thank the people who responded to the call for feedback. Their responses have helped us make sure this policy hits the mark. “

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