The number of people wanting to set up mobile food vending in Williams Lake is on the increase so the city is going to look at a pilot project for 2012, and will follow up by developing a long-term policy for the future.
At its committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, council considered a request from Walter Brunner of the Burger Shed, located at the Canadian Tire parking lot, to set up a second mobile food vending vehicle in Spirit Square this summer.
Council also heard that other vendors have also inquired about setting up mobile food vending businesses in the downtown.
Presently there are two areas set aside for mobile vending. They include a corner on Oliver Street and a sidewalk on Second Avenue. “Right now if you’re not in one of those two locations, the only other places you can be located in the city is on private property,” said acting chief administrative officer Geoff Goodall. “The idea is to figure out a system that could maybe add additional areas, and determine how vendors would be chosen, what they’d be charged and at what locations.”
So far the city has identified three additional areas as possible locations — Kiwanis Park, the Spirit Square, and the lower end of Boitanio Park.
Goodall emphasized the discussion is only in preliminary stages and so far the city has told applicants there is no policy in place.
“There are many questions that have to be asked. We’ve been gathering information. I’m not sure what happened this year, but we have been inundated with requests. We’ve gone through the last 10 years with probably 20 requests for mobile vendors. This year we’ve had 20,” he said.
Referring to Vancouver, he pointed out that city has had good public discussions about mobile vendors.
Coun. Laurie Walters said mobile vendors would enhance the downtown.
“I see it as an opportunity for creating business and believe it’s a growing trend. If there’s something we can do for the short-term to make it happen, I think we should.”
Coun. Ivan Bonnell reminded council that Spirit Square has already had defining rights and policies on it that prohibits commercial activity in that location.