NANAIMO — City Council is poised to create what it hopes is a more appetizing landscape for food trucks in Nanaimo.
Council gave preliminary approval to three main changes to its mobile food vending program: allowing operators more flexibility as to where they do business, extending hours and reducing fees.
Lainya Rowett, the City's manager of current planning and subdivision, told Council interviews with 20 vendors found increased location flexibility is an important issue. The City also proposed to allow vendors to be designated in locations on a daily basis, as opposed to being given a fixed location on an annual basis.
Kim Smythe, CEO of the Nanaimo and District Chamber of Commerce, said having multiple choices available to the public in a single place better serves the operators and the public.
“You need to develop the market, you need to develop a destination,” Smythe said. “People need to know 'I can find more food trucks if I can go to destination X.'”
Smythe believed Nanaimo would support an annual food truck festival, which he said the Chamber could host. He said food trucks have gained traction at the new Commercial Street Night Market.
“They are having very prosperous Thursday evenings, we've had between four and seven (food trucks) since about week three of our night market event.”
The City's proposed revised mobile licensing program would allow operators to serve food between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. in Diana Krall Plaza. The Larry McNabb Sports Zone on Third St. and Queen Elizabeth Promenade would also be open for food trucks, while two Albert St. locations deemed too steep by operators would be removed.
The City's mobile food licensing program launched in 2016 to regulate how food trucks operate on city streets and parks.
Seven food trucks are licensed this year in Nanaimo, up from five last year and eight in 2016, according to the City.
The tweaked food truck regulations require a final vote from Council to be adopted.
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