Changes to food truck by-law to face public hearing

By Jill Sperling
February 7, 2017 - 4:53pm Updated: February 7, 2017 - 5:38pm

KAMLOOPS — With the warmer weather just a few months away, food trucks will soon be returning to the streets of Kamloops. In recent year, food truck owners have grown increasingly frustrated by the strict regulations they have to abide by in order to operate their businesses in the city. 

Today, Feb. 7, city council voted to take the issue to a public hearing. If proposed changes to the current bylaw are made it will ease up restrictions for where and when food trucks can set up shop.

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Cookshack Cravings owner Deanna Bell is welcoming the proposed bylaw amendments.

"We really appreciate ... the city looking at these minor changes," Bell said, "that's really what they are, just making it more available for us to have a couple more trucks, a little bit longer hours, the length of the trailer and truck on the street, because that's a problem, you can't unhook and you can't be too long." 

A unanimous city council voted to put the proposed bylaw and licensing amendments to a public hearing. 

The changes include removing the 50 metre buffer between food trucks and businesses that serve food when the permanent establishment is not operating.

"It's a fine balance with food trucks in terms of the public's want for them versus trying to make sure you don't undermine the fixed restaurant's ability to still make a living during some of those summertime months," said Kamloops mayor Peter Milobar. "So, you know it's just that fine balance, and each year we try to keep tweaking it and amending it to try to figure out a way to have both those services within the city."

Currently, food trucks are only allowed to operate until 6 p.m. in permitted locations, and 11 p.m. on private property. The proposed bylaw changes would allow food trucks to operate until midnight. 

A one food truck per property regulation could also be removed.

"I think that there's more opportunity, we're looking at allowing them into the parking lots, both at Riverside, and currently there's one allowed at Pioneer, but to allow more than one down there, because people like options and certainly when there's events going on food trucks are really great," said Councillor Tina Lange. 

In addition to the potential bylaw changes, a food truck trial zone has been proposed along St. Paul Street in front of Stuart Wood School and Memorial Hill Park. 

Ideally, Bell would like to be able to set up shop on Victoria Street.

"Sure, we'd like to be on Victoria Street, but we understand that it's very tight," Bell said. "We appreciate Seymour and St. Paul, but that's something I would like to change. When I go to other cities, they're just parked everywhere." 

Food truck operators are always on the move, often traveling to out-of-town events and festivals. But, a few changes to some tight regulations could entice food truck operators to hit the brakes in Kamloops more often. 

"I think it's time, since it started until now, that we just get these bylaws in place because we're getting more food trucks as time goes on, and lots of people want to just stay in Kamloops," Bell said.

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