Proposed Kitchener food truck rules unappetizing to operators

Controversy over new rules for food truck operators in Kitchener is heating up as a city committee reviews them next week.

While the council will not decide on the proposed set of rules until May, at least one food truck operator says that she will find it difficult to endure the new rules.

It’s about a new license fee of nearly $ 2,000 as well as an event fee of $ 150 for every time trucks are set up downtown for special Thursday night events.

City officials had previously suggested setting up food trucks 200 to 400 meters from existing restaurants. In the new proposed rules this limit would be reduced to 30 meters.

Andrea Kim and her husband Christopher started selling Korean groceries from their truck west of Seoul in September 2013. She says the new rules will affect her bottom line and, ultimately, her ability to run her business in Kitchener.

“The fee is not only unreasonable compared to neighboring cities’ fees, but also because of the type of access we get,” said Kim.

She and her husband have already acquired a license to operate in Hamilton, which compared to only about $ 300.

“Unless Kitchener can do something that is more workable for us, we have to go to Hamilton and other cities,” said Kim.

Chef Scott Davey says the high price is intended to help persistent restaurants compete against mobile food trucks that do not have to pay property taxes.

“They’re trying to strike a balance between what people want and what is fair to the food truck industry and make sure we don’t harm local restaurants,” said Davey.

Proposed new food truck rules

Food trucks will continue to be allowed as special events in Kitchener under the amended rules proposed by the city staff. The council had previously considered rules at the end of February until a request from the council was made. Berry Vrbanovic sent employees back to the drawing board.

The following is included in the new rules that will be voted on Tuesday:

  • Food trucks are used in McLennan Park, Huron Natural Area, Budd Park and Southwest Optimist Park, as well as Huron Business Park.
  • Trucks must be at least 30 meters from companies and 90 meters from schools unless the company or school has given permission to reduce this distance.
  • Trucks are prohibited in the city center, unless they are part of special events and festivals, on Mondays at noon in the town hall, on Thursdays between 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. at predetermined locations or one-off promotional events between companies and the food trucks.
  • Trucks would also be allowed as part of a pilot program in the Civic District, in which one to three trucks drive downtown one evening a week.
  • A food truck license that allows operators to set up shop on public and private property would cost $ 1,947 plus $ 150 per event fee. A license to operate only on private properties would cost $ 1,051.

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