Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why Oh Why Only ONE Food Vendor in Maffeo Sutton Park??

Parks & Recreation Make Nice Parks
But When It Comes To Food Vendors
Well .......????????

Back in 2009, the powers at Parks & Rec decided that it would be a good idea to only allow one food vendor in the newly redone Maffeo Sutton Park, and that food vendor must offer healthy choices, in keeping with the ideology that Parks are to be a 'healthy' place. They don't seem to grasp the notion that a good for you, tofu burger, just can't possibly replace an artery clogging, red dye number 9 injected good ole red hot, covered with greasy fried onions!

Of course in this day and age the enterprising business community, has recognized there is an appetite for a much wider variety of food that can be offered from mobile food vendors. In fact some of the truly business-friendly, forward thinking cities have gone out of their way to try and develop the mobile food cart industry in their cities. But alas, that same philosophy does not apply in Nanaimo.

I raised the issue of only allowing one vendor in Maffeo Sutton a couple of years ago with Parks & rec head, Richard Harding. The reasons offered for the choice to limit the offerings to one vendor, who had to be approved by his department, solidified my notion, that Parks and Rec folk should stick to parks and trails and leave business to those who understand it. For example, Mr. Harding seemed surprised to learn that the forms his department were issuing to would-be food vendors included a clause requiring the food vendor to have their menu, portions and pricing approved by Parks and Rec before being opening for business!! They don't seem to understand why few business folk, don't want them giving them business advice.

This whole notion of once again allowing a variety of vendors in Maffeo Sutton is being revisited (I think) and hopefully common sense will rule the day this time around, and we may have more than ONE choice of food when it comes to taking advantage of our most delightful, waterfront gem known as Maffeo Sutton Park and Swy-a-lana Lagoon. Of course the city might have to face another legal challenge as I think Parks and Rec already granted some kind of exclusive license to the current operator of the hot dog wagon that appears in the Park during summer. Another wise business decision?

The city of Nanaimo should dedicate an area of the newly paved Maffeo Sutton Park which would allow for a variety of food vendors. In my opinion, the more the merrier. Establish some clear rules as to standards the carts must meet, for example do they need fire suppression equipment to be sanctioned by the fire department? Can they use their own electrical generation, or must they use city provided power? A list of rental fees, perhaps based on locations within the park which may be considered more valuable etc., and that should be about it. As for what the vendor is offering in the way of food, portion sizes, pricing etc. that needs to be left up to the marketplace. As for the actual construction of the cart etc. that is up to the health authority at VIHA to decide before they issue a health permit.

A vibrant, exciting variety of food options in Maffeo Sutton Park could be a reason for the park becoming a destination all year round if it attracts a variety of vendors, which is how the matter of food vendors should have been dealt with years ago.


1 comment:

  1. as of october 2013 there are still NO VENDORS in the park, one might start to think they dont want anyone in the park except for the ciy sponsored events where they give away free parking, good business smarts there to huh


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