ELMORE residents fear a coffee van planned for the centre of town could exacerbate existing traffic problems and take away business from traders.
The City of Greater Bendigo has received an application for a coffee van at Railway Place, Elmore, as an itinerant trader under local law. Works have begun to install power and water to the site, which is public land.
Residents say the approval process has been "underhand", with no public consultation.
But council said the coffee van proprietor was not required to go through the planning application process for a local law application.
Elmore Progress Association president Jeff Crust said he was concerned that the position of the van would create a "traffic nightmare", while also taking away trade from existing businesses.
Mr Crust said the EPA had written to council to object about six months ago when it first heard of the proposal.
He said the EPA encouraged business, but wanted trade that would employ locals and give back to the community.
Mr Crust said parking for trucks and cars was already an issue, but a coffee truck would make it worse.
He said there had been no consultation with the community or formal advertisement of the plans for the site.
"People will come into town, especially if they're in a rush on long weekends and holidays, they'll see a mobile coffee van, they'll know they can just duck in and go," Mr Crust said.
"When they do come and stop across the road at the Oasis Cafe or the Copper Kettle or the bakery ... usually then we find they'll walk down the street and they'll pop into the IGA or whatever. And they'll have a look around the town."
City of Greater Bendigo Acting Safe and Healthy Environments Manager Jason Barnes said council had received a local law application for a coffee van, which did not require a planning permit for approval.
Mr Barnes declined to name the proprietor or company on the grounds of privacy.
To obtain local law permission to set up a coffee van a trader must apply to the council, which would assess the application against the Outdoor Dining and Street Trading Code of Practice.
The city charges $295 per month rent for an itinerant trader in a rural area, such as the coffee van.
The coffee van's owner has installed power to the site, at their own expense with the permission of the council.
Elmore's Oasis Cafe owner Max Kennedy said he'd seen no consultation about the van. He said even if the van only made $200 a weekend, it would put one of the local girls out of work at another business.
"[The applicant] may have ticked all the boxes, but the council hasn't ticked all the boxes with us. How come we weren't notified at all?," Mr Kennedy said.
Copper Kettle cafe owner Renee Phillips said she supported new business in the town but was worried about the impact of a food van on the local community.
Ms Philips said the town relied on people stopping to use the local amenities, which employed locals and bought local produce.
"Having a coffee van that people can virtually pull at, quickly purchase whatever it is they're purchasing, get back in the car and drive through, stops them from... seeing the town," she said.
"If the town is going to become like a drive through town it will really affect the economy."
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