29 October 2020

Food trucks at Eden Wharf a short-term solution to closure

| Elka Wood
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Aerial view of Eden Wharf.

Tourists to Eden Wharf have faced a lack of facilities since the abrupt closure of the waterside building. Photo: Supplied.

Members of the Eden community have held a series of meetings since the closure of the Eden Wharf building on 11 October to find solutions to the “many problems caused by the closure”, a press release from the Eden Visitor Information Centre said yesterday.

The most pressing issue is how to cater to tourists in the wharf area as the summer tourism season approaches.

Members of the Eden Chamber of Commerce, Eden Visitor Information Centre, Eden Recovery and Resilience Alliance (ERRA) and Eden Community Access Centre have held three meetings since the wharf’s closure to bring tenants, the community, and the NSW Crown Lands department together to make a plan.

“The situation during the October long weekend can not be allowed to continue,” said Eden Chamber of Commerce president Peter Whiter.

“Many visitors arrived at the wharf precinct and were dismayed at the lack of facilities. They left the town bewildered and hungry. At the same time, our business people had nowhere from which to operate nor earn an income.”

While businesses struggle to come to terms with the abrupt closure of the building, tourists just want somewhere to relax and eat – preferably with a view of boats and pelicans.

READ ALSO Eden’s Marine Discovery Centre and wharf shops evicted as building deemed unsafe

“The Visitor Information Centre received lots of complaints about the lack of food services at the wharf during the long weekend,” said the centre’s manager, Clair Mudaliar. “This is highly concerning given the busy Christmas period ahead of us.”

In the group’s efforts to provide support to Eden Wharf building tenants, it has been looking at short-term solutions to allow the food providers who were previously tenants to continue to do business and provide eatery services at the wharf.

The group has also been liaising with existing food service providers in Eden to cater for increased demand and is lobbying local members and ministers for a permanent solution to the lack of services at Eden Wharf – and for this to be communicated to the community as soon as possible.

Ms Mudaliar said a temporary solution has been found after the group obtained a short-term licence to host food trucks at the wharf during the busy summer and Easter periods.

“At this stage, we can confirm we have obtained a short-term licence to occupy small sections of the Eden Wharf area for the purpose of enlisting food trucks and coffee vans to set up and provide food and beverage services for the upcoming summer and Easter trading periods,” she said.

However, it’s not clear if any of the tenants will take up the option to make their business temporary and mobile, or if this option would benefit them.

“The tenants of the wharf building have always been the group’s first priority, and with this in mind, they were all offered the opportunity to take up this short-term space,” said the press release.

But getting services in place to cater to tourists is the short-term priority, according to Eric Wolske from ERRA.

“The decision to act was made due to the complete lack of services at the wharf, which is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the shire, and a hub for our community,” he said.

“The impression that the wharf closure is giving to tourists, and the increased demand this has put on the remaining eateries in town is not something we can ignore.”

The group anticipates that eatery services will be available within the next two weeks.

Food truck and coffee van proprietors who wish to register an expression of interest can get in touch with Clair Mudaliar, manager of Eden Visitor Information Centre on 02 6496 1953 or at [email protected].

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Janet colless4:40 pm 04 Nov 20

my husband and I come to Eden twice a year from greater Sydney. We just love the town and visit the wharf for coffee or a meal on a daily basis. This shambles that is happening at the moment is certainly not going to bring tourists back !,
Shame on you whoever is allowing such an iconic site to fall into a state of disrepair. All the eateries in the precinct are deserving of better, and immediate attention. The town of Eden will not be the same and neither will we be visiting again until the situation is rectified.
Food trucks even if temporary,are a poor solution at best!

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