Row brewing between mobile food kiosks and Swakopmund Municipality
By Adolf Kaure.
The Swakopmund Municipality has demarcated several sites for mobile food kiosks.
This, the municipality says, will allow them to better manage their activities and operations in a manner that improves the image of Swakopmund while addressing the needs and interests of all the residents.
According to the public relations officer for the Swakopmund Chief Executive, Archie Benjamin, despite there being 17 sites for mobile food kiosks in the Central Business District and surrounding areas, residents who are interested in opening food truck enterprises at the town continue to flood the Economic Development Services Department with applications and demands with the inquiries unequivocally showing that new locations are needed.
“The Swakopmund Town Council has also received a mass amount of complaints from residents, particularly those living near the beach, requesting the relocation of mobile food kiosks for various reasons,” he said.
Some of the complaints include a disregard of the town planning scheme by allowing mobile food kiosks to operate in the beach area without following the proper procedures.
He further said that the Municipality of Swakopmund has recognised the need to accommodate and support the mobile food kiosk business by putting measures and systems in place that lawfully support this sector thus creating an enabling environment for economic growth and the creation of employment.
The resolution was not welcomed by all sections of Swakopmund, leading business owners mobilizing community members to sign a petition, which will be imminently handed over to the town council to voice disapproval over the resolution.
“Please leave the Fork n Nice alone! Please don’t move the yellow bus. Don’t be short sighted, it is ours!” remarked one of the disgruntled residents on the Swakopmund Municipality Facebook page.
After the Swakopmund Town Council’s deliberations on 27 October 2022 and 23 February, it was resolved that mobile kiosks be allowed at certain specifically demarcated sites.
These sites include north of the aquarium as well as at the tennis court, the parking area opposite the State House, the Saturday Market area at Erf 118 (Daniel Kamho Avenue) opposite the Swakopmund Prison, Erf 626 in Tamariskia and Erf 2349 in Matutura.
Existing mobile kiosks that need to relocate in respect of the town council’s decision were given the first preference to re-apply and select their preferred sites.
The Mole and the old skateboard area will only be used for special events, while the current kiosks in these areas must be moved to the newly created area.
Furthermore, the council resolved that the mobile kiosk sites at the DRC Settlement be delayed until the complete de-congestion process has been finalised.
Council also noted that no suitable trading areas have been identified at the industrial area, Ocean View, Mile 4, the DRC informal settlement and Mondesa.
The resolution further states that the mobile food kiosk policy inclusive of all operative guidelines will be implemented in phases yet to be announced.
The Swakopmund Town Council will hold public consultations on its mobile food kiosk policy in the near future.
Swakopmund’s iconic yellow food bus, Fork ‘n Nice, known for its delectable take-aways, is now in the middle of a dispute between the municipality and mobile food kiosks over the right to ply their trade in public areas. (photograph by Adolf Kaure)