TORONTO, CANADA – Toronto food truck owners are unhappy with the long-awaited liberalization proposal unveiled by city bureaucrats on Monday, saying it gives an unfair near-veto to established restaurateurs who want to keep them away.
The proposal is intended to launch a street food renaissance. It would allow the trucks to sell food from all “pay-and-display” parking spots on city roads — for the first time — as long as they stay 50 meters or more from a restaurant and 30 meters or more from school property.
That is a major victory for a food truck movement that has long struggled under a repressive regulatory regime. But the proposal would also permit councilors or local Business Improvement Areas — made up of bricks-and-mortar establishments — to ask the city to ban the trucks from a particular area.
If the city agreed, the truck owner would have to file an appeal. A final decision would be made by the local community council, made up of councilors from the general area.
BIAs would have even more power over applications to operate trucks from streets without “pay-and-display” spots. The proposed bylaw says the city “shall” reject the applications if the BIA objects. Those battles, too, would have to be settled at community council.
Caplansky’s Deli owner Zane Caplansky, who also operates a food truck, said he will take legal action against the city if the “ridiculous” BIA provision is approved.
“That provision will gut the entire initiative,” Caplansky said.
“The BIAs are caving to the restaurants who don’t want the food trucks there. Therefore, what BIA is going to let us set up where we need to set up, which is where the people are?” said Scott Fraser, co-owner of the Hogtown Smoke barbecue truck.
“What they’re going to do is give us a little hole-in-the-wall parking lot, a mile and a half away from the nearest office building.”
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