Smithers town council is working on working with a mobile food vendor.
At its Dec. 13 regular meeting, council started the process of giving a bit more flexibility to where and when mobile food vendors can set up.
Last month, the owners of Sum Shockin’ Good Food Truck wrote a letter to Smithers council asking to park a couple of times a month in the ice rink arena parking lot; Chandler Park and the museum.
At the time, council wasn’t sure what to do and directed town staff to come back to them with an idea.
Town staff reported back with what they think is a temporary recipe for success.
They suggested council approve Sum Shockin’ Good Food Truck’s request to operate at those locations for 2023 while also modifying a business bylaw to give a senior member of staff the power to authorize when they can set up.
As the Business License Bylaw is currently written, mobile vendors and restaurants shall not stop on public highways or park on town-owned property or in residential zones for the purpose of doing business unless they first obtain council approval.
According to a staff report, this is not common practice amongst many municipalities as it is considered an operational procedure. So town staff suggested amending a section of the bylaw by granting delegated authority to the director of development services to approve the mobile vendor and mobile restaurant locations.
Staff did note there are currently no other applications for those locations and dates and any new businesses requesting the same would require all the same business licence requirements. And although Sum Shockin’ Good Food was the first come-first served, staff would treat all businesses equally and fairly.
Council agreed and gave first, second and third readings to amend the business licence bylaw and also directed staff to draft a mobile vendor and restaurants policy for the administration of future applications.
This will streamline the process for applications and the policy could include a pre-approved list of potential mobile vendor/restaurant locations and timeslots at strategic locations on town road right-of-ways and town-owned property.
Additional possible policies to come out of this process include, but are not limited to, a waste management policy, noise policy, signs policy, and others, specific to mobile vendors and restaurants.