New rules to allow more food trucks

Policy being finalized would open up city properties in Salmon Arm to mobile vending.

If you’ve been dreaming of a community with more choice in food trucks, your wish is on its way.

Salmon Arm council is pondering a policy that would make nine city properties available to food truck vendors.

The locations proposed in a new city bylaw include: Blackburn Park, the Canoe ball diamonds, Fletcher Park, Klahani Park, Little Mountain, Marine Park, McGuire Lake (the 6th Street NE Boulevard), the recreation centre, and Hudson Avenue NE (the Ross Street Plaza).

Mobile food vending would be allowed only in specified spots – ranging from one to three per location, March 1 to Oct. 31, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Licensed food trucks would operate on a ‘first arrival’ basis, with no one allowed to set up before 5 a.m.

Kevin Pearson, the city’s director of development services, explained to council that five licences have been issued to four food-truck operators this year, most who conduct their business on private property that’s zoned to allow ‘outside vending.’

He says the proposed policy came about because the city has received requests over the past three or four years from vendors wanting to operate at Little Mountain Park and Blackburn Park.

Related link: Council to examine food vendor policies

The policy would be something of an experiment the first year, he says, adding that larger centres have set up reservation systems while the goal in Salmon Arm at this stage is “to keep it relatively simple.”

Bylaws also need to be updated to include food truck (or mobile food) vending, which isn’t actually permitted currently. The bylaws include ‘outside vending,’ which refers to carts – “so has been quite a liberal interpretation,” Pearson said.

Currently carts are allowed downtown at designated spots in the Ross Street Plaza and Fletcher Park.

Mobile food vending would become a permitted use in 14 city zones, mostly commercial, but also including P1, the park and recreation zone, and P3, institutional.

Another change would be the addition of a temporary use policy, so mobile food vending would be permitted on private property in residential and other zones for no more than two days per month for the purpose of catering to parties, festivals and other similar events. Extensions would be at the discretion of the city.

All of these permissions would not come without cost, as three new fees would be added to existing ones. The annual fee for single site mobile food vending on private land, including a signal event licence, would be $150. For multiple sites on private land it would be $300. The annual fee for multiple site vending on both city and private land would be $500.Pearson said this would be useful for vendors who might take advantage of opportunities in the industrial park as well as on city property.

The vendors will also be subject to a number of regulations.

Pearson forwarded his report to the four food-truck vendors with licences. The only feedback came from one regarding generators. Pearson says only generators with a 60 decibel or less rating would be allowed.

Input was also received from Downtown Salmon Arm, Salmon Arm Economic Development Society, the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce, the Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake Agricultural Association, Interior Health and more.

Council praised the planning department for all the work done in preparing the policy, and discussed a number of aspects of it, particularly location.

Although there are two mobile vending sites mentioned for Blackburn Park at both sides of the park with Rosa’s Taco Stand in the middle, Coun. Alan Harrison said he would like to consider how having two would affect her business. She had expressed opposition to the plan. Harrison said he’d lean towards having just one. No mobile vendors will be allowed at Blackburn during the Roots and Blues Festival.

Coun. Kevin Flynn said he would like to consider further the two mobile vending sites proposed for Little Mountain, which are in the gravel parking lot below the field house. Coun. Ken Jamieson said he wouldn’t want to see them in the main parking lot, as it gets so jammed.

Regarding the rec centre, the report suggested letting the recreation society decide where the site should be. Flynn said that as the city’s rep on the recreation society board, he thinks the board would welcome council making that decision.

The public still has time to respond. Once the report on mobile vending is finalized, the bylaw changes required will be the subject of a public hearing.

Also, the staff report entitled “Mobile food vending policy and bylaw regulations,” as well as a map of the proposed sites, will be available for public viewing and feedback on the city’s website.

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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