Chips down in the fight over fees
WHILE sandwich board fees continue to get up the noses of Grafton businesses, it seems other Clarence Valley Council fees are causing just as much distress.
Teresa Eggins and her husband Nigel own Crabba Jacks takeaway in Fitzroy Street.
Mrs Eggins said council fees had become such a burden on local businesses that many were struggling to cope.
She said the economic slowdown was hitting hard and council fees were changing the way she did business.
Mrs Eggins said council was charging $75 for each table she placed outside her shop, and $35 for each chair.
In addition, she said council was charging $75 for each barrier that was required to surround the tables.
Mrs Eggins said she could not afford to pay the fees which meant her customers had nowhere to sit and eat their meals.
She has also withdrawn her sandwich board which, she said, made her shop look like it was shut - but it doesn't stop there.
Mrs Eggins said council was charging her $250 per year to operate as a food outlet even though her shop is already a registered business.
She said she is also being charged $250 per year for council health inspectors to periodically check the shop.
“All of the small shops are doing it tough, this is beyond a joke,” she said.
“I don't think council cares about small business at all.”
A few doors down from the Eggins' Fitzroy Street business, John Williams runs Gone Fish'n.
Mr Williams is just as annoyed with council fees, and the rules that accompany them, and has also stopped putting his sandwich board out on the street.
“Sandwich boards have been around as long as shops have been around,” he said.
“I've had customers say they thought the shop was shut because the sign wasn't out the front.”
Meanwhile, meetings continue between Grafton traders and council over sandwich board fees and rules.
Grafton Chamber of Commerce vice-president and owner of Low Pressure Surf Company Noel Smith said about 25 people attended a meeting last week and a further meeting with council was scheduled for May 6.