City happy with food truck amendments

Cathy and Joe, of Cat and Joe's Pig Rig.

KAMLOOPS – Food trucks are definitely returning for the season, and to more locations, after amendments were approved by council this week.

Food trucks were already on the scene, in small numbers and only on private property or at special events, when a pilot project was started by the City of Kamloops last year. The pilot project allowed residents to enjoy a wide variety of cuisine from the trucks right in the downtown core.

Following a public hearing Tuesday, April 28, council agreed to two amendments to the existing food truck bylaws.

Trucks are now able to open earlier on public streets, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during weekdays, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on public streets. Food trucks are also now allowed in more city zones, including the Tranquille Road commercial district and at the airport.

While select food trucks had taken issue with the city regarding the limited dinner hours on public streets forcing them into public spaces with less foot traffic, Coun. Ken Christian feels the public hearing spoke to continued cooperation between the two parties.

He says he understands there may be a conflict between food trucks and brick and mortar establishments, especially on downtown streets, but believes the new amendments were fair.

“The pilot project showed that food trucks have a place in the city,” Christian says.

When asked if the city was not allowing food trucks to be feasible, he said this was simply not the case and not his take away from the public hearing at all.

Christian believes food trucks often act as a launching pad for brick and mortar establishments, citing the example of Cat & Joe's Pig Rig’s plan to open a restaurant this year.

He also says food trucks can tap into niche markets that restaurants can’t. Christian gave the example of special events at Riverside Park or the Tournament Capital Centre.

“(Food trucks) are providing a service that otherwise would have swamped concessions,” Christian says.

The councillor notes the city will continue to work with food trucks to make the experience better for customers and operators alike.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at dreynolds@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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