On Dec. 14, the City of Fernie council voted in favour of amending the Business Licensing and Regulation Bylaw 2028. The amendment is in reference to mobile food vendors and food trucks in Fernie.
Under the new regulation, mobile food vendors are only allowed to operate between First and Second Avenue on Sixth Street, near Station Square in the downtown core. Outside of the downtown core, they have to be at least 50 metres away from a restaurant to operate legally, unless the mobile food vendor receives written permission from the food or beverage establishment. Street vendors can park outside of established food or beverage restaurants in the downtown core if they are not stationary for more than 30 minutes.
City Council gallery was busy, as people on both sides of the argument waited to give their opinion on the regulations. Council also received numerous letters and emails regarding the amendment, both for and against.
Some concerns raised at the meeting were that while the amendment stipulated how near a vendor can stay in front of a restaurant, it did not specify how far they would have to move in order to operate again. Essentially, as the bylaw currently specifies, the mobile food vendor could be in one spot for up to a half hour, move 10-feet, and continuing operating legally. Another concern, brought forward by Sydney Salvador, owner of the Chopstick Truck, is that while the bylaw stipulates an assigned area for mobile food vendors, it does not delegate the spot specifically for them – meaning if a vendor goes there to operate and all the spots are already taken by other vehicles, the truck cannot operate for the day.
The last concern raised was in regards to the noise that could be generated by food trucks appealing to late night crowds. Under the bylaw, food trucks are allowed to operate until 3 a.m., and some residents are concerned about the amount of noise pollution and litter that may cause.
City Council cited this amendment as a step in the right direction, and understand that there may be more revisions and amendments in the future to address some of the concerns and others that may come through operation.
City Council has been working on modeling a bylaw regarding food trucks for over two years. Council looked at models from other cities, including Kamloops, Victoria and Portland, among others, to model the bylaw amendment from.