The fate of mobile food vendors in the city of Castlegar is still up in the air.
At the city’s council meeting Monday, Phil Markin, director of development for the City of Castlegar, told council that his research on mobile vendor criteria in neighbouring cities varies.
“I sent out emails to communities within the area and asked them how much they charge for a license and asked them what their policy was concerning food trucks,” said Markin.
According to Markin, licensing fees varied from city to city with some communities, such as Cranbrook charging $75 per year, to Salmo, which charges $150 per year.
He also asked about whether they had to be Interior Health Authority approved, and about insurance and how close those vendors might set up shop next to brick and mortar food sources.
Those distances ranged from 30 metres to 50 metres, no distance prohibition and no sales allowed directly outside places of food business.
A Taco Truck, pictured above across from the Kootenay Market downtown, and Twisted Thyme, pictured below, further uptown are a pair of mobile vendors operating lately in Castlegar.
Jim Sinclair photos
Councillor Deb McIntosh also told council about a recent meeting regarding food trucks in which four restaurant owners attended. That meeting was facilitated by Castlegar Chamber of Commerce McIntosh was clear that the meeting wasn’t an us vs. them situation, but more about finding fair resolution for all those involved.
“The meeting was very insightful,” she explained. “The business community is not anti-vendor, they are pro-fair. They want it to be fair.”
“They are passionate, vocal, and love Castlegar. We need to work with them; they are paying taxes, etc.,” McIntosh added.
Those four restaurant’s included McDonalds, the Element, Boston Pizza and Tim Hortons, although other restaurant owners were invited to the meeting.
“They all were invited, but only four came.”
Councilor Dan Rye waded into the discussion saying the food vendors do have a place in Castlegar.
“Vendors have been doing business in Castlegar for years. This is not new. The question is, do we want to put limits on them,” said Rye.
McIntosh, on the other hand, pointed out that restaurant owners also add much to the community by way of revenue and job creation and recommended that Planning and Development develop a fair policy for 2014.
Council was divided on how to deal with the issue of food vendors.
Half wanted a working committee to work on policy, while the other half entertained the notion of having the Chamber of Commerce help with facilitating a policy.
McIntosh said the recommendation that the Chamber become advocates for the business owners was a “cop out.”
“We absolutely passed the buck instead of tackling it ourselves with a working committee,” concluded McIntosh, who by the way, was against the notion of burdening the Chamber with the task.