black marketVANCOUVER, CANADA – Vancouver City Hall has halted new food cart applications for 2014 after realizing some venders were flipping their permits by using a “loophole” that allows card holders to sub-lease their licenses.

According to a letter sent last month to street venders, city street activities co-ordinator Alan Rockett said council would be asked to ban the so-called “renting” of street vending permits.

The proposal would additionally limit the number of permits each business can have.

The city currently has 138 food cart permits issued.

The recommendations are expected to go to council in February.

Coun. Kerry Jang said on Tuesday the subletting problem is an issue that wasn’t foreseen when the city’s food cart program was first set up in 2010.

“Somebody would get a couple of licenses and sublet it to somebody else at a higher profit, that’s sort of a loophole,” he said.

“So somebody would pay a $1,000 fee (to the city), and say, ‘Hey, I got two. So here you can have (one) at $10,000.’”

Staff, he added, had also been tasked to monitor the program also to ensure “brick-and-mortar” businesses weren’t being impacted unfairly by the street venders.

According to city hall, applications for the street vending program are assessed based on food safety requirements, business plans, ingredients used, among other factors.

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