Ice cream move criticised by vendor

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A Roe Valley ice cream vendor fears the award-winning strand will become a “free for all” after councillors voted last week that no permits be issued for 2012.

A Roe Valley ice cream vendor fears the award-winning strand will become a “free for all” after councillors voted last week that no permits be issued for 2012.

The move was proposed by Sinn Fein man Cathal McLaughlin, who received the backing of his party colleagues. Unionists and SDLP members abstained from the vote.

However, Ballykelly man, Andy King has accused the Council of hypocrisy and urged councillors to seriously re-think the move. He says trading is tough enough for local vendors right now, and the latest move will make it even harder.

“My first reaction is that all councillors and Council urges people to shop local and keep the money in the borough. I am a Limavady man and the money I make is spent in Limavady,” he told the Journal. “Now the beach is going to a be a free for all for people from all over the province to trade and the money won’t stay in the borough. It’s hypocritical.”

Mr. King, who trades under the business name ‘Andy’s Ices’, said he knows of an offer of £7,000 made to auction the rights to sell ice cream, but claims the price could have risen to as much as £10-12,000. He said there are also fears traders who come to Benone may not be following the correct legisation when it comes to child protection, hygiene and insurance.

“Say you have three or four vans there, and they start fighting over trading trade, that isn’t good for Limavady. I think Council has to re-think their decision and auction it off. Let the highest bidder win, and that could be maybe three vendors together,” he said, adding: “It used to be kids were getting an ice cream three or four times a week. Now it’s once or twice. This will make things even harder for us.”

As the ‘Journal’ reported on Friday, Colr. McLaughlin said last season there were no permits issued and it was trouble free, so it was “black and white” to him.

A leaflet has reportedly been delivered around the Roe Valley criticising Limavady Borough Council for charging rates to shopkeepers, but not ice-cream vendors.

Colr. McLaughlin said he can’t understand why traders are complaining when “they are getting the beach for free”.

He said there was minimal disruption at Benone last year, but said he was happy to sit down and discuss the situation with any trader. He added the issue was being looked at as soon as possible for next year’s seasson.

He added all traders wanting to do business would be vetted and go through the legislated checks necessary.

A spokesperson for Limavady Borough Council said: “Council is bound to follow an open and transparent and public process in the acquisition of services. The same would apply in auctioning the rights to sell ice cream at Benone Beach”.

Council, in arriving at its decision on Tuesday evening, took account of a number of factors including the historical issues associated with management of ice cream vendors at Benone Beach. This included the overall costs of managing the situation.”