I raised the issue about the application of the Green Travel Plan and its impact on small business because I was very concerned that a development application (DA) that was passed by Council on Monday 28 June 2015 will set a precedent that can be applied to any business in the local government area.
The owner who is quoted as offering support for the application of the Green Travel Plan in the media is not the restaurateur small business owner who will ultimately have to comply with the plan, he represents the developer of the site.
The plan does set a precedent because it will act as a guide for further Green Travel Plans to be applied to tenants rather than developers. Tenants could be from any small business sector like doctors, hairdressers, chemists, newsagents, etc. Once a Green Travel Plan has been applied to a DA as a condition of consent it applies forever, regardless of who the future tenant is.
There are a number of elements that apply to the Green Travel Plan that will directly impact the restauranteur when they lease the space once the development has been completed. These can be applied to any new development application for any business at the City of Sydney’s discretion.
The Green Travel Plan can be applied to any business regardless of size. For example, it could be a 300 seat restaurant, a 3 chair hairdresser or an optometrist.
Red tape requirements of a Green Travel Plan include:
- Collect and report on travel trip information 6 months prior to construction of the development.
- Employ a travel plan coordinator who is responsible for customer transport patterns, targets and promotion of sustainable travel behaviour.
- Report every year to Council demonstrating on improvements and effect of the Green Travel Plan in order to continue trading under the DA consent conditions.
- Continuously survey customers about how they travel to and from the business and suggest they use public transport, walk or ride a bike.
- Use survey findings to report to Council.
The level of compliance and red tape that the Green Travel Plan imposes on the tenant is totally over the top and it firmly places the onerous task onto time poor business owners. Rather than focusing on growing their business or retaining customers these small business owners will now have to focus on organising and reporting on the travel movements of their customers to keep the doors open.