The decision to approve a food van venture has the town of Mingenew divided, with existing business owners shunning a local in fear there will not be enough demand to keep everyone open. Port Denison mother Feijoa Catchick recently opened her new business Wild Side Coffee and has been approved by the Shire of Mingenew to operate at Coalseam Conservation Park, the Mingenew Spring Caravan Park — which her mother owns — the parking bay on Midlands Road opposite the Mingenew Bakery, and at the former service station on the same road. At its monthly ordinary meeting on November 18, Mingenew councillors approved her application for a 12-month trial, on the basis she would not open opposite the bakery or Palm Roadhouse while they were open. Mingenew Bakery co-owner Sarah Gammon fears the decision could “break the back” of her own business and said there should have been community consultation. “In a small town it’s not something we have room for ... we pay rates and tourism season is our cream, and for another business to take our cream when we need it the most to survive ...” she said. “We have already been considering closing for six months of the year and (Wild Side) do everything we do, this may be the straw that breaks our back.” Palm Roadhouse manager Katie Diggelman said that she didn’t think the town was big enough to keep all three food businesses going. “The bakery is a very well established business with a strong customer base, take their customers out of the equation and there is not much left to keep both the roadhouse and a food van viable. I only just squeeze in there myself,” she said. “What I’m not comfortable with is how the Shire of Mingenew came to approve this food van. Public comment was not sought, it was brought to a meeting and they voted on it. “If the food van operates regularly even just for a month outside of grey nomad season then we will not have enough business to keep our doors open. We are literally just scraping through now.” The bakery is open 6am to 4pm weekdays and 8am to 2pm on Saturdays, while the roadhouse is open seven days, 5.30am to 7.30pm. Mrs Catchick, who grew up in Mingenew, said she does not intend to operate in the town centre except for a “practice run” at the old service station this weekend . She said she would primarily operate at the Coalseam Conservation Park between August and October and at the Port Denison foreshore playground on various days. “My wish has always been to work in conjunction with all other businesses of the town and not against them while caring for my toddler and expanding our little family,” she said. “I do, however, wish to offer the community a new exciting menu and bring job opportunities to the local community during wildflower season. “I have tried to contact all businesses in town that could be potentially affected by me operating in the town for two days, with only one business willing to hear me out, unfortunately.” Shire of Mingenew chief executive officer Nils Hay said he had invited local business owners to tonight’s council meeting where he intended to raise the issue, but declined to comment further. The Mingenew Hotel was also contacted for comment.