A first step in amendments to current mobile vendor policies

The debate over food trucks continues but council agreed to amend the permitted location of the trucks during the June 23 council meeting.

The debate over food trucks continues but council agreed to amend the permitted location of the trucks during the June 23 council meeting.

Until the official mobile street vending policy is amended, council has approved a motion to limit food trucks access to First Avenue between Fifth and Sixth street, a suggestion made by Councillor Dan McSkimming.

During the June 9 meeting, restaurant owner Marsha Churchill urged the city to review the mobile street vending policy, suggesting that the food trucks’ $250 a year fee was unreasonable and the location was disruptive to restaurant owners downtown businesses.

“Downtown restaurant owners and residents believe food trucks have a place in Fernie, but not in our downtown and particularly not with the existing guidelines,” she said during the June 9 meeting. “My $2,000 a month (in rent) can not compare to the $250 a year the food trucks pay.”

At last weeks meeting, council discussed at length limiting the food trucks’ hours and keeping them off Second Avenue.

But McSkimming said keeping them off the downtown strip was not enough.

“We need to not just say not Second Avenue, we need to say mobile vendors in the downtown area are allowed on First Avenue… Just staying off Second Avenue… I don’t think will be adequate,” he said.This location, however prompted some concern over business being taken away from the Royal Hotel.

“I don’t know if there’s any real cut and dry solution,” Councillor Phil Iddon said. “Probably the least impactful solution would be on First Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Street because it has the least restaurant impact.”

Council and the public also debated the mobile vendors hours of operation.

Councillor Randal Macnair originally suggested the vendors be forced to close down at 1 a.m. in order to relieve public congregation on the streets following the closing of downtown bars.

Restaurant owners agreed with this suggestion.

“The level of intoxication between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. is totally different,” Churchill said.

A 2 a.m. closing time was originally suggested but Churchill said at 2 a.m. intoxicated patrons would continuously bug the food truck owners to serve them, making it impossible for them to close.

Several council members felt like a 1 a.m. closing time would hamper potential business.

“I don’t support the idea that we continually clip their wings and limit their ability to do business by shortening their time even further,” Councillor Willard Ripley said.

“It’s totally local for me to limit… to move it to 2 a.m. closing just like we do the bars and maybe stop the congregation that goes on after the bars are closed,” Iddon agreed.