While visiting other communities, I have often found myself enjoying the wonderful selection of food trucks that are available.
Cities such as Portland are known for their wide selection of street eats and, closer to home, the City of North Vancouver has created a vibrant Friday evening waterfront destination largely by allowing food trucks to set-up at the Shipyards. These rolling food vendors provide a lot of benefits to the community by providing convenient access to food service in areas that may not typically be well served by more traditional food service businesses, such as in parks, public plazas, or other areas where people may gather.
They are usually owner-operated and the unique food concepts allow people to try a variety of cuisine, at an affordable price, and often you can chat with the person who is preparing your food. Perhaps what I like about food trucks the most is that they are a real community builder and they help to foster community connection, something that is needed more than ever.
In the DNV, we do not see food trucks operating in any meaningful way and that is largely because they are currently not permitted to operate on District streets or public land (with the exception of food trucks that are part of a special event) and only permitted under special circumstances on private property.
I would like to see this changed, and that is why I am bringing forward a motion to Council this week asking District staff to look at establishing a food truck policy and to identify potential regulatory changes which would allow food trucks (or food truck festivals) to operate in our community, as well as provide options for a temporary food truck pilot program to launch over the 2022 summer season.
While there is generally strong support for this idea from the community, there have been a few concerns raised about the potential of any negative impacts that allowing more food trucks could have on the “bricks and mortar” restaurants, many of whom are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic. Should this idea be supported by Council, this would be an important consideration as staff engage with the business community. Additionally, any sites selected for the pilot program would need to have adequate waste and recycling facilities, as well as access to public washroom facilities.
This issue will be debated as part of the regular meeting of DNV Council on Monday April 25th.
Jordan Back is Councillor, District of North Vancouver.