Fruitvale council sticks with old bylaw for mobile vendors

New rules won’t be created to allow mobile vendors to set up shop in Fruitvale.

New rules won’t be created to allow mobile vendors to set up shop in Fruitvale, after village council voted recently to retain their current business licensing bylaw.

Council elected to keep the old bylaw — which gives them around $2,400 per year from inter-provincial licensing — that restricts mobile vendors in the places they can set up their carts.

The village had not allowed such traveling vendors in the past, said village chief administrative officer Lila Cresswell, and so they did not have a business licence category and rules for them.

“There are other areas … that they could possibly set up at,” she said.

On April 2 two mobile food vendors — Blair Peel and Isabella Eliason — petitioned council wishing to purchase business licenses to operate within the village boundaries, to allow them to set up for the summer on a vacant lot in the village’s downtown core.

The two vendors, who operate independent of each other, would only operate for two to five days per week, and their menu items would not largely conflict with local establishments.

Both Peel’s Confusion Taco truck and Eliason’s hot dog/hamburger cart were self contained units, with their own recycling, garbage, water and power capabilities on board. The two said they wanted to use the vacant lot next to Dr. Greg Barrett’s dentistry practice to set up their mobile units, but had not yet received approval.

But the current Business Licensing Bylaw contained restrictions disallowing operation of a mobile food vendor in any of the locations that could accommodate such a vendor (zoned commercial or industrial and not located on the highway) like Dr. Barrett’s property.

Cresswell noted the limitation against having a vendor on highway frontage property in the current bylaw was likely to do with highway safety issues regarding right of way.

Village staff investigated the impact of withdrawing from the inter-municipal licensing agreement and instead draft bylaw changes to allow mobile food vendors to operate within the village, bearing traffic and public safety in mind.

If the village withdrew from the agreement, the number of licenses currently sold within the municipality would need to increase by 40 in order to achieve the same amount of revenue they would lose ($2,400). The village only has 58 now registered.

The current fee for any mobile business is $300, however, as the village is a partner to the Regional Business License agreement, the fee for the same business license inter-municipally is $180.

If they still decide to go ahead, vendors will require property owner permission for their chosen location and that permission in writing will be requested upon public complaint regarding their siting.

Council will review the situation within a year.