'We're shattered': Mango stall squeezed out by council
FORMER New Zealand policeman Russel Craig and his wife Pasilika have been left "shattered" after Sunshine Coast Council staff shut down their popular mango stall.
Mr Craig and his wife were into their fourth season of running Mangoes on Maud, a stall which had been operating on Maroochydore's Maud St for the past six years, before their business was shut down on Monday.
Mr Craig said a complaint had been received in relation to zoning issues by someone who'd clearly taken issue with their small business operating on the front lawn of a friend's house.
He said he'd be surprised if it had been another business feeling threatened by them, but it was hard to think of anyone else who would complain.
"We can only assume that maybe it's a new one (business or resident) in the area (who complained)," Mr Craig said.
"We both feel terrible.
"It's just a real shame."
Mr Craig said they had "such great relationships" with their customers and they felt as if they were letting people down.
"We are shattered, we're devastated," he said.
The couple moved to Australia in 2015 and live in Sippy Downs.
They'd been operating their mango stall daily on a friend's property from mid-September to late-January.
Mr Craig said the previous stall holder had been told by council their business was fine, as long as they didn't put signs up on the light poles.
The former cop, businessman and part-time writer said he couldn't understand why they hadn't even been granted an extension through to the end of this mango season so they could fulfil commitments to suppliers and sell off stock.
"We've got hundreds of really happy kids and families," he said.
He said they planned to approach council to try and work out a way forward and were prepared to deliver their stock.
Idprint managing director Simon Baker runs a business next-door to Mr Craig's mango stall.
Mr Baker said he'd had no issues with the small stall and didn't know of anyone along the street who did.
He said the stall hadn't caused parking issues and only ran for a short time each year with limited products.
"If council had an issue they shouldn't have let it go on for six years," Mr Baker said.
"The horse has bolted."A Sunshine Coast Council spokesman said it was working with Mr Craig to resolve an "issue with their operation". "Council has not directed the operator to cease trading at this time," the spokesman said. The stall had been subject of a complaint to council and the spokesman said the business was operating "without the necessary development permits" so officers had advised them of their options to ensure the stall complied with regulations.