KAMLOOPS – Recent changes to food truck regulations in the city haven't made things much clearer for vendors, and as a result at least one truck owner has been in an ongoing battle with the city over where he can, or cannot, operate.
Mikey Wheeler-Johnson, owner of the EatsAmore food truck, says over the last couple of weeks he has been in a feud with the city regarding where his truck is allowed to be situated.
The recently-adjusted bylaw says trucks cannot be within 50 metres from the door of a brick and mortar restaurant, but Wheeler-Johnson takes issue with how the city measures this distance. He wants a definitive answer once and for all because, according to him, he has received contradicting answers.
City planner Stephen Bentley says he did originally give Wheeler-Johnson inaccurate information. When asked about the location in the 300-block of Victoria Street, he says he erroneously told EatsAmore this spot was acceptable.
“Myself, I'm a city planner. I got a bit involved because I wrote the food truck bylaw. I don’t even (enforce bylaws),” Bentley says.
However, Wednesday, May 13, Bentley came to this spot with downtown advocate, Gay Pooler, and told Wheeler-Johnson he had to move.
In an email that followed Bentley told Wheeler-Johnson his truck, in the Kamloops Inn parking lot, was within 50 metres of Boston Pizza, Carlos O'Bryans and the Swiss Pastries bakery shop. He also included a map showing which locations were suitable.
“Your current location is in contravention of the bylaw. Please relocate to a permitted location after today,” Bentley said in the email.
Wheeler-Johnson’s main concerns are that he was originally told this spot was allowable, then suddenly told it wasn’t, and that Pooler and Bentley measured 50 metres out by foot, pacing across the street, something Wheeler-Johnson says is 'hardly scientific.'
When Bentley explains how and where he measured from, he uses the term as ‘as the crow flies.’
“If you’ve ever seen a crow fly, they fly in zig zags. An accurate measurement would be a beeline as bees fly straight,” Wheeler-Johnson says.
According to Bentley, 50 metres starts at the front door of Boston Pizza and travels diagonally through the business.
“I don’t have a measuring device that accurate measures through brick walls,” Wheeler-Johnson says.
After a series of emails back and forth, it was agreed Bentley would meet Wheeler-Johnson at his location across from Carlos O’Bryan’s. Bentley was to bring his measuring wheel and the two would settle the dispute. However, Wheeler-Johnson says Bentley did not show up at their agreed time and place.
On Wednesday, May 20, Bentley came with bylaw inspector Dave Jones. Wheeler-Johnson alleges that not only were the measurements taken by the two men completely arbitrarily, a combination of straight lines, right angles and rounded curves, Jones threatened to take him to court if he would not comply with the city’s ruling.
Bentley says Wheeler-Johnson likely feels 'hard done by,' which might bias his interpretation of what happened.
“Hey, you’re not complying… this was not intended as a threat,” Bentley says, noting the city supports the interests of food trucks and hopes Wheeler-Johnson and himself have come to an understanding. “We appreciate that he seems to be working with us."
The second map the city gave to Wheeler-Johnson regarding his location.
Image Credit: City of Kamloops
The first map the city gave to Wheeler-Johnson regarding his location.
Image Credit: City of Kamloops
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