An Avenel family's attempt to teach their children the value of money has fallen foul of Strathbogie Shire Council.By Chalpat Sonti
When the Goodman family of Avenel wanted to teach their daughters about the value of money and working for it, they thought they had the perfect plan.
Annie, 6, and Mae, 2, wanted a bike and trailer about 10 months ago.
‘‘I said if you want it you’ve got to work for it,’’ their mother Belinda Steers said.
She had plenty of fruit on the trees at their property on Avenel-Nagambie Rd so the idea of a roadside stall was born.
The stall — where payment was by donation, with no prices charged — was an immediate hit. So much so that the girls raised enough money for what they wanted in just two weeks — and that was just opening on weekends.
‘‘Then we decided to raise money for the Royal Children’s Hospital,’’ Ms Steers said.
‘‘The girls were learning now that they got what they want, they can give back too. It just became a bit of a novelty around town.’’
After raising $500 for RCH, fundraising ventures included Avenel Primary School, an equestrian team, the town’s 175th anniversary (crepe myrtles for every residence) and Yooralla. All up, more than $1900 was raised for charity.
Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Well it was, until a few weeks ago. That’s when it all came to a crashing halt.
Because it was then a local resident decided to complain about the stall to Strathbogie Shire Council. The complaint was that vehicles stopping at the stall constituted a traffic hazard.
The property is on the 100
But the council came around and told Ms Steers — whose father is former Strathbogie mayor Robin Steers — to shut the operation down. It also hadn’t got a permit ($65 cost) so she complied. Public liability insurance and food handling certificates were also required and it was all too much.
While the family was disappointed, that’s nothing compared to the backlash the closure generated. The Telegraph was contacted by upset patrons wondering what had happened.
Apart from gladly making a donation for everything from fruit to preserves and vegetables, people would swap items, return jars for reuse and other community-minded actions.
‘‘I just can’t believe someone complained about the traffic,’’ Ms Steers said.
‘‘It’s just a bit sad that’s the world we’re living in now. They should be allowing kids to put tables out the front and make a bit of pocket money. I remember having a lemonade stall as a kid and it was great, it was how we learned the value of money.
‘‘Annie and Mae were learning where money comes from and that you have to do something for it, but now they’re learning it’s all too hard. How do you teach kids the value of money if they can’t learn how to work for it?’’
Strathbogie statutory services manager Steven Hicks said ‘‘the issue is road user safety’’.
‘‘Avenel-Nagambie Rd is a VicRoads managed road and it is believed that in this case any permission would need to be sought from VicRoads,’’ he said.
The council’s ranger ‘‘observed goods for sale and signage indicating goods for sale’’.
‘‘(The owners) were advised that they could not trade without a permit including a need for an assessment of suitability of the site and public liability insurance.’’
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