Monday, August 17, 2015

Nanaimo Food Trucks - Just In Time For El Nino



"Nanaimo streets could host food trucks"

That is the headline of an article in the Bulletin written by Tamara Cunningham Aug. 13/15. The story goes on to say that Nanaimo is crafting a new policy to open select city streets to food trucks. It also mentions that the policy of only one vendor in Maffeo Sutton park is under review.

Tamara reports that the document has been over a year in the making and will be ready for committee review this September.

Some glaciers actually move faster than Nanaimo has on the issue of allowing food trucks to operate in our fair city. Yours truly has been flappin' my gums about it since at least 2011 on this blog.



Tamara's report would lead you to think that food trucks in Nanaimo might be just around the corner. But if you notice that document was only going to be ready for 'committee review' in September, which in real terms means it might not be presented to Council until next Spring, if the Nanaimo status quo process holds on this issue.

By the time the committee gets finished reviewing the work to date, don't be surprised if they want to have a say about what items can be offered on the menu, what the portion sizes should be and finally what the pricing will be. Sound absurd?? That is what Parks and Rec included on their food vendor application for Maffeo Sutton park, when they granted an exclusive licence to the current hot dog vendor.

Meanwhile in Parksville

The following pictures were taken last Tuesday at the street market in Parksville where the food vendors are, no doubt, the most popular attractions in the market. There are over 175 vendors at this market and the lineups in front of food trucks is non-stop from opening bell at 6:00 pm right through to close at 9:00 pm.



Back in Nanaimo

As I said I have been yapping about food trucks in Nanaimo for years, and I am not the only one shaking my head as to how it is so difficult to make Nanaimo food truck friendly. In 2013, then-Councillor George Anderson is quoted in a Daily News article as saying:

"We're almost in a draconiantype of policy in the sense that we're not really promoting this type of thing. If you go to Vancouver or San Fransisco, these are places that really encourage (it)," said Coun. George Anderson, who said on Monday that he intended to bring up the issue with city staff. "I was in Saskatoon last year actually, and I took a picture of one of their food vendors that was right in the middle of the street, and it was one of the most popular places. I was shocked to see the lineup that was there. I think it's something we really do need to be promoting, and in my opinion, making it easier for people."

Anderson also mentioned vendor La Vida Vegan, who tried to open a food truck in the city last year, but said they encountered so much difficulty from city staff over a permit that they took their business to Parksville.

"We shouldn't be sending business out of our community to another community, we should be trying to keep it here in Nanaimo," Anderson added.

Earlier this year Anderson said that he anticipated city council would review citywide mobile cuisine policy in the fall when they got an updated Maffeo-Sutton Improvement Plan and the parks, recreation and culture department plan to gauge the appetite for the industry.

Just in time for Fall/Winter

Presuming that this committee can actually agree on a way forward in September, it still has to go to Council for approval which means if we are really, really fast on this issue permits could be sorted out by October or November. 

We are always sounding off about how to move Nanaimo forward whether it be attracting massive offshore investment in the hotel/tourist business or building some iconic tourist attraction on Mt. Benson or Newcastle Island, or wooing high tech industry to town..................... but we still haven't figured out how to licence food trucks.

You have to wonder what kind of impression that makes on the high-rolling international business community we keep trying to attract. If this is an example of how our bureaucracy deals with food trucks ................. well 'nuff said.


allvoices

1 comment:

  1. agree completely------but we are good at RV parking lots, stalled fast ferries, nixing trade missions, false hotel starts, empty conference centres-----conversely we are great at plugging in giant speakers, putting up a tent, and organizing noisy, meaningless 'festivals'-------somehow that constitutes economic activity and fun??

    lots of talk, and nothing substantial-------I don't get it ??

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