Wednesday, May 7, 2014

No to Food Trucks on City of London Streets

 No to Food Trucks on City of London Streets

London took a disappointing step back last night when city council decided, by an 8-6 vote, not to permit food trucks on City of London streets. The unanticipated decision came after months of contentious debate, five reports, and three trips to council, two of which resulted in recommendations back for more information.

The proposal had earlier been significantly tightened by the community and protective services committee, mostly a result of the intervention of Mayor Joe Fontana.
Several of the councillors who opposed food trucks did so because they believe them a threat to the financial health of existing restaurants in the downtown core.

The amended proposal would have capped the number of trucks at eight, levied an annual license fee of $2,865, and required a 50-meter (about 150 feet) separation from any existing restaurant, double previous proposals. The amended proposal reduced the number of potential downtown sites from 222 to 50, eliminating almost all of Richmond Ave.

Under council rules, the food truck issue cannot be debated again by council until after the Oct. 27 civic election. There are 27 licences granted for trucks to serve food on private property, just metres from the street. Last night’s decision does not affect them.
According to Ethan Ling, City Policy Coordinator, “There are still opportunities for  ‘refreshment vehicles’ – as they are dubbed in London – to operate on private property, parking lots, festivals, carts on sidewalks, etc.  So notwithstanding this decision, I hope that area entrepreneurs and food lovers can still find ways create, deliver and consume innovative, exciting and boundary-pushing cuisine from trucks, carts, stands or wherever.”

Commenting on City Council’s decision, Ontario Food Trucks tweeted, “Even if it would've passed, it was too restrictive and expensive! Protectionism hurts all!

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