Food truck options to expand in Salmon Arm

City council votes in new food truck regulations

By the time winter has loosened its grip on Salmon Arm and the city’s parks and beaches are full again, there may be more options for those looking to grab a bite on the go.

Salmon Arm council voted Monday, Jan. 15 to enact bylaws that will regulate food trucks and other mobile food vendors in the city. The bylaws pertain to zoning, ticketing and businesses licences, to make and enforce clear rules about when, where and how food trucks can operate.

Restrictions will include the size of trucks or carts used, the locations on city land they are allowed to operate and the amount of noise their generators or other machinery are allowed to produce.

The specifications agreed upon for the new zoning bylaw will see mobile food vending permitted in most commercial and industrial zones around the city, with the agreement of the property owners.

Food trucks will also be allowed to do business on select sites at a number of city-owned properties: Blackburn Park, the Canoe ball diamonds, Fletcher Park, Klahani Park, Little Mountain Park, Marine Park, McGuire Lake, the recreation centre and Ross Street Plaza.

Maps attached to a city staff report indicate food trucks will only be permitted at one or two specified sites at most of those city properties. The report contains special restrictions that include allowing only one of the two sites at Blackburn Park and one of the three at the Ross Street Plaza to be used at the same time.

A bylaw mandating $100 tickets for non-compliance with the zoning bylaw will also be drafted.

A third bylaw will create new categories of business licences for mobile food vendors. There will be three types of licences: single-site vending on private property, multiple-site vending on private property and multiple-site vending on city land.

City of Salmon Arm development services director Kevin Pearson said there were no objections to the planned bylaws from the five mobile food vendors already licensed to operate in Salmon Arm.

Those five vendors provided city council with recommendations and requests related to their businesses in November 2016 in hopes of seeing them implemented by their 2017 operating season.

“Mobile food businesses are growing in the B.C. Interior and are an exciting and vibrant alternative to existing food services. Food trucks and trailers are synonymous with trendy menus, creative and fun dishes and an ever-evolving source of culinary adventure,” reads the food vendors’ presentation to council.

There has been opposition to the more permissive attitude towards mobile food sales from those who operate brick-and-mortar concessions near where the food trucks will be allowed to operate.

“Diversity of food options is not a valid argument for more competition at Canoe Beach. It doesn’t mean more visitors to the park. It just splits up the little business that is there,” reads a letter from Joyce and Jim Dunlop, owners of Top Jimmy’s Canoe beach Café.

Rosa Guthrie of Rosa’s Taco Stand also wrote a letter expressing concern for her business located in the concession at Blackburn Park if food trucks are allowed to operate nearby.

David Gonella, executive director of the Roots & Blues festival, is not in favour of trucks at Blackburn Park when the festival is on, but says he supports having more food trucks in town the rest of the year. The city staff report recommends vending be prohibited at Blackburn Park during Roots & Blues, the Fall Fair and evenings.

“This is actually great, I’m looking forward to having a plethora of food trucks around, but it took a heck of a lot of work from staff to make this happen, I want to congratulate them on that,” said Coun. Tim Lavery.

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