The confusing and protracted debate about food trucks has just about given me indigestion.
Council this week finally came almost in line with Waterloo by approving a $350 annual food-truck fee. Operators will also have to pay an additional $150 fee to Kitchener’s Business Improvement Area (BIA) that will help cover marketing-promotional costs and other extra fees will occasionally apply for special events.
Reaching that conclusion has been one of the most delicate balancing acts I have had to perform during my first council term.
I wanted to please and respect the business needs of numerous restaurants in my downtown ward. At the same time, I wanted to be fair to food-truck operators while satisfying the appetite for mobile grub trucks expressed by numerous people.
In brief, council voted to establish a 30-metre minimum setback for food trucks to distance them from restaurants and a 90-metre setback from schools.
We also voted to permit trucks in certain parks but, in Victoria Park, prohibit them from the Joseph Street entrance while allowing them near the pavilion. Trucks will also be allowed at city-approved festivals, the Centre in the Square, outside city hall during Monday lunch hours and throughout the core between 4 and 10 p.m. on Thursdays.
This pilot project will be reviewed and after a year to see how it’s working.