For years,Toronto’s food truck industry has been engaged in a round robin of sorts trying to find locations to park their mobile eateries around the city.
Now, representatives from municipal licensing and the Street Food Vendors Association are looking to change that.
To be brought before City Council in November, the Harmonized Vending Permit by-law aims to expand the number of areas food trucks can operate.
The new proposal, which is an initiative of municipal licensing’s Street Working Group, also includes input from the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), Toronto Public Health, the Street Food Vendors Association and other city departments to see how they can amend their bylaws.
Currently,Toronto’s by-laws won’t allow vendors to set up at busy intersections such as Bloor Street and Jarvis Street. Excluding private property, food trucks are not allowed to park near sidewalks and streets.
According to the supervisor of municipal licensing, Pat Thornback, the original by-law, introduced years ago, was designed to ease the growing congestion of food trucks.
Executive director of Street Food Vendors Association, Marianne Moroney doesn’t think congestion is the problem today: “There were over 300 vendors … now there are 116 left. It’s died by attrition, this council wanted to kill street vending,” she said.
Also a food vendor, Moroney says the city has taken its time amending the regulations and as a result job opportunities in the food truck business have declined. While Thornback doesn’t quite see it that way, she believes some of the city’s bylaws are out dated.
“Bylaws need to be updated with what’s going on now. In terms of the evolution of food trucks there are more, most haven’t been updated since the early 80’s,” said Thornback.
If the harmonized vending by-law is approved by city council this November, it could start taking effect as early as March of 2013.