The owner of Dampier’s famous seaside pub has warned a declining population and increase in food vans in town is making business unviable. Dampier Mermaid owner Nick Bond said there had been an increase in mobile traders in Dampier since the council’s new stallholder and street trading policy came into effect on January 1. The new policy increased the amount of locations available to food vans, but limited the number of traders available at each spot, meaning they could no longer gather in a large group at the popular Dreamer’s Hill. Mr Bond said coupled with a population of just 1104 people according to the 2016 Census, the additional food vans in Dampier were placing extra pressure in an already tight market. “We estimate about a 20 per cent drop in our food sales every night now that there is more than a couple of food vans in there which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is when you’re not making any money already in January, February, March.” he said. “The population decline has not left enough people to support current businesses in Dampier, let alone allow food vans to be regularly coming out. “What it’s doing is just making businesses not viable in Dampier. There is not enough people to come out to support us. It seems to be getting tougher and tougher.” City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the policy would be reviewed in July. “We have been doing this for two years and there actually wasn’t as much response from the fixed businesses as we thought,” he said. “In a way it was sort of good to see the fixed businesses coming up and saying ‘look, this is how it’s hurting us, we’re only turning over this much and things are really tough’. “There might be some light on the horizon if it really is bad for the businesses.” Mr Long said his preference was to support fixed businesses which “own buildings and employ people”.