It’s unanimous. City council has voted 15-0 in favor of planning and tweaking a new food truck bylaw that will see a pilot project commence on Forest City streets.
After a lengthy battle, that was killed last year and revived by this year’s new council, food trucks will eventually be on the streets. There is no knowing when, but the wheels are at very least turning, and heading in the right direction.
The biggest problem that was holding council back was the dismay of some business owners that think having food trucks on city streets will have a negative impact on their businesses. Originally, it was planned that food trucks would not be able to travel on Richmond street downtown, but this may not be the case now.
Another change was brought up tonight that was not publicized from last weeks meeting, and that is the notion that their could be as many as 12 food trucks on the street, as opposed to as little as five on the streets that was proposed earlier.
More planning and tweaks will be made to the bylaw before sending it to the Community and Protective Services Committee in February, and Ward 1 councilor Michael van Holst believes he has an idea that will make the Forest City some extra cash.
“An idea I like would be for us to actually decide where the locations are. That allows us to do a few things, just get a little more control of it, and I think during a pilot project you want to have more control. What I would be suggesting is take spots, decide where they’re going to be. Because some spots are going to be better than others, we could actually have a silent auction, and the food truck owners could bid on those, and it’d be another revenue stream for the city.”
One problem that was brought up Tuesday was the unknown factor of whether council will have control over which specific foods will be sold in each specific place. For example, if there is an area where there are already five pizza parlors, they wouldn’t be able to control whether a pizza style food truck could be there or not, instead of possibly having a Mexican food truck which would give them more options. Because it’s a pilot project, van Holst is confident that the ball is completely in the council’s court.
“I think we can do whatever we want, and as an experiment, if this is going to be a pilot project, then we want to take some care in having it be as close as possible to whatever the citizens want to see in the end.”
Van Holst also brought up the fact that food trucks could benefit a lot of workers during their lunch hours. Some workers have a half hour lunch break in which they have to travel 10 minutes to get food, and another 10 to get back, leaving them only 10 minutes to not only order, but eat as well. What kind of a break is that? If there was a food truck closer (van Holst even hinted at not being opposed to having a food truck outside of City Hall), it could be extremely convenient for those workers.
When the bylaw tweaks and planning are finished, it will be sent to committee on February 18th.