There will be no pilot project in which food trucks could roll into a Central Saanich Park this year.
The council voted with Couns against plans for a pilot project that could have brought food trucks to Centennial Park (or Island View Regional Park). Carl Jensen and Chris Graham were against it.
While staff recommended a pilot in May, according to a report by the staff, additional consultations on behalf of the council met resistance from the companies most likely to be affected by such a program in Centennial Park or Island View Regional Park.
“The stationary shops do not support food trucks that run close to their shops every day,” it says. “(Local) restaurant and café owners have said that they are struggling due to the effects of COVID and have concerns about increasing competition.”
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The idea of running food trucks in a public park came about as daily life shifted in the face of public health measures to combat COVID-19 outdoors. However, as the province prepares to lift these measures, staff have recommended against the pilot.
While Graf. Jensen acknowledged the struggles of the companies and indicated that some of these companies may still open. “There are other locally owned companies that couldn’t open,” he said. “So in that regard, we are not looking for some of our local businesses that rely solely on the festival business.”
He also wondered how the pilot would be different from programs like Music in the Park and the Peninsula Country Market. Both events allow food trucks. “There are some inconsistencies that we should be aware of,” he said.
When the council asked employees last month to investigate the matter more closely, Jensen had declared a conflict of interest. On Monday, however, the public learned that this conflict had meanwhile resolved itself because the company based in Mittel-Saanich, which had employed its children, had moved to another municipality.
The vote on Monday also means that employees will clarify guidelines for allowing businesses in parks and will not affect food trucks that operate on private commercial property, where they can operate without a district permit, where the use of restaurants is permitted as long as they are not required parking spaces
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