Here’s a look at how Kitchener City Council responded to what they heard at today’s Standing Committee meeting and over the past 10 days on how to move forward with food trucks in Kitchener.

Of the 8 delegations, I spoke first and ensured the citizen’s voice was heard on this issue. In general, I found this morning’s meeting productive and I’m hopeful that on Monday we’ll see a resolution so that all involved can get on with running their business and the rest of us can enjoy all the good eats.

I’ll share my thoughts on what Council is considering later. For now, I’d like to hear what you think. Please leave comments below.

Proposed motion to be considered at next Monday’s City Council Meeting

The following is a proposed motion being tabled today by Councillor Berry Vrbanovic and referred to Council next week to allow for additional community dialogue and input in the intervening time period, and subject to any amendments…..

That the following Food Truck program be implemented in 2014 to enable food truck owners to operate with the City of Kitchener throughout the week, in a manner that allows the entire community to experience food trucks, while simultaneously fostering positive relationships between food truck operators and existing restaurant operators:

Parks – permit food trucks in McLennan Park, Huron Natural Area, Budd Park and Southwest Optimist Park, subject to restrictions where park permit holders are providing their own food services, and subject to any limits to the number of trucks as outlined in staff report FCS-14-071.

Huron Business Park – permit food trucks on any private property within Huron Business park provided they have obtained the property owner’s permission

Minimum distance setbacks – establish a 30 metre setback from restaurants unless permission received from restaurant owners within the distance separation; and establish a 90 metre setback from schools unless permission granted by the school.
– BIA Boundary – permit food trucks within the BIA boundary during the following times only….

  • Monday lunch hours on Civic Square as programmed by the City of Kitchener
  • As part of city-approved festivals and events (City and community)
  • As one-off promotional events between a restaurant(s) and a food truck(s), for a maximum period of 4 hours, provided all neighbouring restaurants do not object
  • Thursdays between 4pm and 10pm on locations agreed upon between the City, Food Truck Operators and the KBIA (no limit on the number of trucks)
  • Civic District – permit 1-3 food trucks to operate on a daily basis, in conjunction with the Centre in the Square

Fees – That the following license fee structure be approved:

  • $650 annually, which would include private property, park locations, and any City sponsored special events that the food trucks wished to be participants in;
  • In addition, there would be a $150 annual fee payable to the BIA to cover expenses such as marketing, music, etc. for the Thursday night program, if participating

That the above program be a pilot program in 2014 with a report to come back in late January 2015 with recommendations for 2015

And finally, that all refreshment vehicle fees be reviewed before 2015 license fees are approved.

Suggestions to improve upon the motion

Several Councillors made suggestions on possible amendments they felt improved the motion. I’m sharing the notes I took and am happy to revise to be as accurate as possible.

Councillor Dan Glenn-Graham – Recommended that the fee be $350 (with $150 going to the KDBIA). He’d offer food trucks a menu of special event fee options so that each truck could determine it’s own total fee.

Councillor Yvonne Fernandes – Suggested the distancefrom restaurants that food trucks could operate be reduced to 10 m to be compatible with Waterloo. She also thought the limits on the number of trucks at city parks was too low.

Councillor Paul Singh was among those who cautioned against racing against other municipalities to have the lowest fee. He likes the $650 fee in the motion but only if the trucks operate solely on private property. He’d double it to$1300 if they want to participate in city run events.

Now have your say!

What do you think about this evolving plan for food trucks? Please share your thoughts here.

Even more importantly, share your thoughts with your city Councillor before next Monday’s Council meeting.


6 thoughts on “Here’s what Kitchener City Council is proposing for food trucks

  1. What will you do when the corporate food trucks show up?

    The corporations have enough money (and lawyers) to put independent food trucks and brick and mortar restaurants out of business.

    But first let’s make it easy and inexpensive for them to operate in the Region……

    Not the kind of city I want.

    1. I’m open to re-evaluating the rules should corporate food trucks appear. Even if they do, I can’t imagine them putting all restaurants (even just quick serve) and other food trucks out of business. And KItchener wouldn’t be the only city in the same position.

      1. Thanks fior sharing your perspective Joe. We’re going to need to agree to disagree. I can’t imagine Jane Jacobs being against a popular service that creates vibrant streets.

  2. The cities will have to limit these trucks or else they will be flooded with them. I personally know Holy Guacamole is looking to rent a food truck as they want to get in on the action.

    The more publicity this gets the more corporate and other business people have their eyes open and watching.

    1. You may be right John but that’s not something that needs to be considered now. I expect Council to approve the rules for the 2014 prime season for food trucks. Based on that experience and any new information, decisions will be made for 2015.

      Holy Guacamole is a natural fit for a food truck. I love the idea. And I’d encourage other locally owned/operated restaurants to consider it themselves. That’s exactly what Caplansky’s Deli did in Toronto. It’s truck is more famous than it’s Deli but I know about the Deli because of it’s food truck.

  3. I find it interesting that you’re leading a Jane’s Walk today.

    I think that food trucks are the antithesis of Jane Jacobs ideas about what makes a great city.

    Food trucks pay no rent. (Yes, I know there are fees but fees are not rent.)

    They don’t renovate spaces, preserve old buildings, beautify the sidewalk or offer pleasant store fronts.

    They have no vested interest in the community. (One of the local food truck owners said they’re off to Hamilton because of local restrictions.)

    Food trucks identify lively, robust communities and swoop down to siphon out money. Wherever there are a lot of people food trucks will be there only to help themselves and then go back to the suburbs or another city.

    They are unsightly and the patrons often discard their paper plates wherever.

    No, Jane Jacobs would not approve of food trucks. That’s the job of populist politicians.

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