Frosty response to move

'We have been treated really badly'

AUDREY MALONE
Last updated 05:00 18/06/2014
Gwenda Carson
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/FAIRFAX NZ
FOOD FIGHT: Mr Whippy franchisee Gwenda Carson is upset at a council suggestion she move from where she operates at Aorangi Park.

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Two Timaru food vendors are steaming about food sales plans at Aorangi Park.

The Timaru District Council announced last week it would be looking at one joint site for the vendors to operate from - the northern end of the new hockey turf - in the interests of pedestrian safety.

This has upset food vendors Mr Whippy and Alikatz, who both want to stay operating from their current positions.

Mr Whippy franchisee Gwenda Carson said she cannot believe what has transpired and put the actions of the council down to favouritism.

Carson believed the council favoured Alikatz due to one of the owners being a former council employee.

"I don't want to come out as snivelling here, but we have been treated really badly," Carson said.

She was told she had to move from her current site, just outside the stadium, because she was blocking the view and disturbing the grass.

"I offered to pay for the bitumen [to be laid]," she said.

Carson believed the situation was a continuation from last year when vendors were presented with notice that they needed support from a sports group before they could operate.

Carson said Alikatz was the only vendor to have the paperwork with all the "i s dotted and t s crossed" in time.

"I just want a fair go for everybody," she said.

She said she and the other vendors had decided against "kicking up a fuss" last year as they could not afford to lose the ability to operate at the stadium.

However Alikatz owner Allie Hitchcock scoffed at the suggestion of favouritism by the council.

"My husband was a draughtsman over 20 years ago, for God's sake.

"I believe we are the only vendors to have had to make a financial contribution to a sports organisation to operate there," she said.

Hitchcock also said they had made significant financial investment to have power installed at the site and did not want to move.

"I am opposing this suggestion," she said.

Hitchcock said she wanted all the food vendors to work together to get the best possible outcome.

"Mrs Whippy, please call me," she said.

She said the best possible outcome would involve an inclusive process with the council and food vendors, with complete transparency.

Council parks and recreation manager Bill Steans said it was inappropriate for him to comment on the matter while council was reviewing it.

He said the council had asked for more information, which would be presented at a future meeting. The discussions would be conducted in a public forum.

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- The Timaru Herald

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