Letter: Response to the arguments about food trucks

Some of the recent arguments in favour of brick and mortar restaurants and against food trucks in downtown Fernie are as follows...

Some of the recent arguments in favour of brick and mortar restaurants and against food trucks in downtown Fernie are as follows: loss of municipal taxes; attracting customers from restaurants causing restaurants to decrease their profits and/or close; and contributing to public nuisances such as intoxication, property damage and street violence.

The rationale of these arguments is conjecture and for the purpose of supporting brick and mortar restaurants. There are no studies that verify that any city has lost tax revenue due to a food truck. If a restaurant or any other business closes and therefore the city no longer receives tax revenue from that business, in all probability, the business closed due to various reasons – the main one being unable to meet the demands of the customers or a slowing economy.

There is no valid evidence to support that any food truck has caused a brick and mortar restaurant to close. Customers select their choices based on personal taste, the quality of the product and the efficiency of the service.

There is no correlation between a food truck and public misbehaviour. There is more of a correlation of public misbehaviour between a bar serving alcohol and permitting a customer to become drunk and then going out to the street. Even though this correlation may be seen easily, there is no clamour to close bars or curtail intoxication and any consequential misbehaviours.

Some other concerns that brick and mortar restaurants purport about food trucks are as follows: blocking their signage and visibility; providing no bathrooms; lower operating costs; not being required to make improvements; littering and garbage; and noise.

In truth, these claims are only conjecture for the purpose of persuading the city council to create a regulation against the food truck in favour of a brick and mortar business. It would be most difficult to acquire any significant statistical evidence to support these claims. In the event the city council regards these claims as valid, the city council will be in error and will appear to favour and/or disfavour a particular business owner or owners on a personal basis and not on competitive fairness to all businesses.

Carolyn Woodfine

Fernie, B.C.