City considers mobile vendor regulations
More vendors and food trucks applying to set up in city
Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 06:00 am
When Ranya Abu Jaib and her family first wanted to start up Dedo’s Food Truck business in the city, St. Albert had no laws in place to allow them on city-owned land.
The family had to find private property to park their truck, she said.
But as more mobile vendors are looking to operate out of the city, St. Albert needs guidelines to manage these businesses, said Guy Boston, director of economic development.
On Monday, city council unanimously approved that Boston and his team research what process is needed to permit and handle mobile vendors inside the city.
“There are the guys that sell flags, they have a van, the Taber corn people. There have been requests from people to stand on the corner and sell newspapers,” he said.
He added that the city has been handling permits for these vendors on an “ad-hoc basis.” But there are numerous reasons why the city would benefit from set guidelines for mobile vendors, he said.
For one, downtown business owners have increasingly voiced concerns about food vendors setting up across from their business, especially on farmers’ market days, he said.
Guidelines for vendors could look at how to best resolve those issues, and where vendors should be allowed in the city, he said.
But there are also mobile vendors that set up on private property during the weekend or for a few hours during the week.
Not all of those vendors get a business license to operate, he said.
“That becomes a problem from an enforcement perspective,” he said.
In order to develop guidelines for vendors in the city, Boston is now looking to discuss the process with local stakeholders such as the chamber of commerce, significant event organizers and downtown businesses.
Possible guidelines will consider existing permissions and wording in the land use and traffic bylaw, he said. In creating a possible bylaw, administration may also consider guidelines or bylaws used by other communities, he said.
Abu Jaib said her family would prefer regulations similar to Edmonton’s.
Those provide mobile vendors with a license that allows them to set up on three different locations around the city, on city property, she said.
For now, Dedo’s Food Truck is restricted to working out of private parking lots at the Sturgeon Community Hospital and Canadian Tire, and the St. Albert Farmers’ Market, she said.
But those require the business to sign a different contract every time, she said.
“It would be easier because having a food truck is a mobile business. It’s not like a restaurant,” she said. “A food truck, the nice thing about it is that you can move from place to place.”