Council fees could force local business to close its doors
BAUPLE'S Vintage Rose Cottage has been hit with a list of expensive fees from the Fraser Coast Regional Council and the owner fears she will have no other option but to close her doors.
Kathy Higgins said the fees she would be paying were exactly the same as a business operating on the Esplanade in Hervey Bay.
Ms Higgins has been trying to grow her business over the past two years, first offering a tour of her rose gardens with a serving of tea and now serving light meals.
But when officers from the council paid her a visit, she was told she would need to pay thousands of dollars to be able to continue operating, including $1700 for an operating fee and $2000 for the building to be inspected.
She said she was happy to comply with a food licensing fee, but the other costs seemed excessive, especially for a business that only operated a couple of days a week for a limited number of customers.
"It has become so difficult and depressing," she said.
Ms Higgins said the council had inspected previously and had classified her business as a cottage industry.
She said the difference was that she was now making light meals instead of having Devonshire tea brought in from an outside source.
Ms Higgins said it was possible she would be left with no option but to close down if she couldn't meet the council's requirements.
"I'm hoping to continue but the costs are prohibitive," she said.
Fraser Coast councillor Phil Truscott said he would be meeting with Ms Higgins to discuss the future of her business tomorrow.
"I'm meeting with them this week to sort out this issue," Cr Truscott said.
On the issue of the fees, Mr Truscott said there were "set rules. Everyone is treated the same," he said.