TANGLED NET: Unreel Seafood owner Ivan Jensen says he is being forced to shut the business' Chatsworth site due to conflicts with the town plan.
TANGLED NET: Unreel Seafood owner Ivan Jensen says he is being forced to shut the business' Chatsworth site due to conflicts with the town plan. Scott Kovacevic

Another Gympie business caught in council planning net

THE owners of Unreel Seafood could be forced to shut their Chatsworth doors after the business was caught in Gympie's town planning net.

Ivan Jensen, who owns the business with wife Julie, said they had set up their mobile van in the Chatsworth paddock almost five years ago on Gympie Regional Council advice.

But he said one complaint had brought their business to a crashing halt.

"We don't meet council approval," he said.

Mr Jensen said the council classified his business as a shop - a designation which would not change even if he put the wheels back on the trailer and drove away every night.

 

Ivan Jensen, owner Unreel Seafoods, with his mobile truck and trailer at Chatsworth.
Ivan Jensen, owner Unreel Seafoods, with his mobile truck and trailer at Chatsworth. Scott Kovacevic

"They don't want to budge," he said.

"It's just black and white to them."

However a council spokeswoman said Unreel Seafood was in direct competition with lawfully established and rate-and-rent paying commercial businesses.

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"Over the past four years, the owner has steadily increased his operations on a rural residential zoned site to four full days per week," she said.

"He has erected permanent building structures and installed permanent signage promoting the business.

"His business is also benefiting from highway frontage."

 

Ivan Jensen, owner Unreel Seafoods, with his mobile truck and trailer at Chatsworth.
Ivan Jensen, owner Unreel Seafoods, with his mobile truck and trailer at Chatsworth. Scott Kovacevic

Mr Jensen said he chose the Chatsworth spot on council advice.

"When I started this business, I went to the council... and said 'this is what I want to do, what do I need to do to comply?'"

He said he was told there would be no issue if he set up on a private property.

And for five years it went swimmingly with councillors and council staff now part of his regular customers.

Mr Jensen said he had tried to comply with "everything the council wanted us to do" and said he was still happy to work with them - except there was now "not a single place we can go".

The council spokeswoman said Mr Jensen needed to operate the van in an itinerant or mobile manner, including packing up at night, and for two hours per day, two days per week with no permanent structures.

Gympie Times


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