KAMLOOPS — I’ve never been a food truck kind of guy. My work place just isn’t conducive to checking out food trucks at breaks or at lunch. But I’ve been following the food truck debate in council fairly closely because I’ve always liked the concept of the hot dog stands at some shopping locations around town, and having some of the specialty foods that food trucks make their living from. So it intrigued me that the food truck owners seemed happy with recent developments at council that would provide better opportunities to have more food trucks available in the downtown, where they would be well used. At least theoretically. But it puzzled me that everyone seemed happy with the idea of a “food truck space” near Stuart Wood School. I thought to myself, “why would anyone walk that distance to Stuart Wood to pick up a sandwich or hot dog from a food truck?” If you have a half hour lunch break and you work in the downtown, would you walk to Stuart Wood school? I wouldn’t, but I don’t walk much anymore. So I talked to many of my friends who walk and frequent the downtown. I said “would you walk that distance?” Some, whose break time was flexible, said “yes” but a big majority said they wouldn’t make that trek.
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They would go to a fast food place closer to them because they just didn’t have time to go that distance. Now to be fair to the City, the “tweaking” they did to the food truck bylaw allowed the trucks to be longer, more of them in the same area, and some other adjustment to accommodate the food truck owners’ needs. But I just wonder whether or not the idea of a “food truck park” near Stuart Wood is the place to go. Will it work out? I am not opposed to the increased use of food trucks. I just don’t know where to put them. Parking is at a premium right downtown, so Stuart Wood makes some sense in that regard. Riverside Park could be a location, but it would take away lots of parking spaces. The whole idea of food trucks to me is convenience. You go out your office building, make a very short walk, and get something from a food truck, then go back to work, or perhaps sit on a bench outside your office and enjoy the sunshine while you eat. But walking several blocks to get lunch isn’t an idea that I see appealing to anyone. So while I applaud the City’s efforts to accommodate the trucks, and the owners’ efforts to deal with their size and space issues, I don’t think we’ve solved the problem yet. I think this issue still has another round or two left in the fight before we find the win-win situation we’re all looking for.