Food van to remain at Coronation beach after 12-month trial extended by Chapman Valley council

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
Elanor Ward with a happy customer.
Camera IconElanor Ward with a happy customer. Credit: Supplied

A “paddock to plate” food van will continue serving food at popular windsurfing spot Coronation Beach after the Shire of Chapman Valley Council unanimously voted to extend its trial period.

The council originally approved an application from proponents Elanor Ward and Sharrone Foster in December, with a 12-month trial supposed to end next week.

But the food van, called Country Cooks, didn’t start operating at Coronation Beach until May because of cyclone Seroja and issues getting the van into WA because of COVID-19 border closures.

Given those hardships, the council agreed to extend the trial to November 2022 to give Ms Ward and Ms Foster a chance to see if the business is commercially viable.

Chapman Valley Shire said it had yet to receive any complaints about the food van. The proposal was carried 5-0 after Cr Trevor Royce left the room because he owns land in the area.

Elanor Ward and Sharrone Foster have started their own food van business.
Camera IconElanor Ward and Sharrone Foster have started their own food van business. Credit: Supplied

Ms Ward and Ms Foster will have to pay a $500 fee to the Shire to use the location for the year.

The Chapman Valley locals said the business, serving “home-made tucker” had been steady since starting in May, operating from 11am-7pm from Friday-Sunday.

Ms Ward said Coronation Beach could become one of the Chapman Valley’s premier tourism hotspots.

“It already attracts a lot of windsurfers,” she said.

“We believe in the future we will be able to turn Coronation Beach into a ‘foodie’ destination enhanced by the development of our ‘paddock to plate’ menu items that feature and showcase local produce.”

Ms Ward lives on a farm down the road from Coronation Beach and said she had “big plans” to grow their own vegetables and to develop a sustainable supply of lamb and beef for the food truck.

Elanor Ward with Coronation Beach caretaker Terry.
Camera IconElanor Ward with Coronation Beach caretaker Terry. Credit: Supplied

The Country Cooks are installing solar panels on the food truck to replace a diesel generator, and have also bought an ice-cream machine ahead of summer.

Ms Ward said the Shire had been very supportive of their business venture.

“We hope to make it worth the drive,” she said.

“We envisage that in time, our online presence, coupled with good reputation, would entice potential customers to come out for a visit and supplement the casual visitors and campers that would comprise our normal customer base.”

The Chapman Valley Menshed is hosting a movie night at Coronation Beach on December 4 from 5pm, with live music by Ian Weggler.

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