Wollongong Harbour fruit stall popular, so what’s the catch?

Garry Harriman with some of his produce. Illawarra customers are spreading the word about cheap, good quality fruit and vegetables from south-western NSW being sold at Wollongong harbour. Pictures: DAVE TEASE
Nanjing Night Net

A popular fruit stall at Wollongong Harbour could be forced to close.Garry Harriman, who runs a boat charter business at the harbour, started a fruit and vegetable stall at the back of his boat about seven weeks ago as a way of shifting excess fruit for farmers in the Riverina region.The stall has been popular with many people who have been spreading the word about the fresh, cheap produce.But the harbour owners, the NSW Land and Property Management Authority, said using Crown land for retail purposes was unauthorised.Mr Harriman is operating under a “mobile licence to sell” from Wollongong City Council, but also needs to have his stall approved by the authority.”They are of the opinion that we shouldn’t be here, that the harbour was never intended for this type of use,” Mr Harriman said.”In my opinion this is a very low-key business which is not affecting the environment, it’s creating tourism into the area and it’s fitting in with everybody else’s activities around here.”The authority said anyone wanting to undertake a commercial activity on Crown land required a licence or lease. A spokesperson said Mr Harriman had been advised that he was not authorised to use Crown land for retail purposes and needed a proposal in writing.Mr Harriman has sent letters to the authority and his submission is being assessed.The authority said it would need to consider if the retail use was permissible under Wollongong City Council planning instruments and whether a development application was also required.Mr Harriman said his business was insured and had asked customers to park in designated car spots and use the bins in the area so that pollution and trip hazards were kept to a minimum.”The neighbours are quite happy knowing that I’m covered with insurance, and they’re quite happy to share their part of the space down here,” he said.”We’re like caretakers here, because we live on the boat, and quite a few times I’ve called the Wollongong police to report hoodlums in cars.”Mr Harriman said he hoped to remain at the harbour and, if asked to move on, he would be able to sell in the area from the back of a trailer.

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