Foodies searching for new and exciting eating experiences on the North Shore will soon have their appetites satiated with the arrival of a fleet of fresh food trucks and carts.
On Monday evening the City of North Vancouver council gave the go ahead for a 12-month pilot program that would see the welcoming of more street food vendors.
For the last three years, the City of North Vancouver has tried various iterations of mobile food service pilot programs in the summer months.
This latest pilot follows the 2022 edition which came to a close in October, and saw trucks (vehicles with kitchens on board) and carts (kiosk and wagon-types) granted operation in 16 approved areas across North Vancouver.
This included three cart approved areas on Lonsdale Ave, including one at Civic Plaza, and Mahon Park, Ray Perrault Park, and truck and cart approval at Victoria Park.
The new pilot will continue allowing the operators to set up shop at city-permitted events, with the inclusion of events on private property. It will offer year-round application to the 16 previously designated locations and will give cart and truck owners the option to suggest alternate street locations.
Staff said they would consider having food truck operators year-round at The Shipyards, outside of planned events, following it being the most sought-after location, from owners and visitors, during the 2022 pilot.
Coun. Don Bell said another pilot was worth pursuing and the introduction of food carts will add “character and diversity” to the area and will make it “more interesting” on the North Shore.
“We want to animate our streets wherever possible and create a vitality for the businesses on those streets - and this is one way to do it,” he said.
“Particularly in The Shipyards, which is a key area - because that’s where crowds go,” he said.
Rather than tearing business away from local restaurants and food businesses, the program is designed to heighten it. Restaurant owners are encouraged to seize the opportunity to expand their own businesses, and the designated locations ensure that trucks and carts will be placed fittingly - a coffee cart would not be placed near a cafe, for example.
Girard said she hopes the pilot will push local restaurants to look into trucks as an option, to be “more transient” and step away from their bricks and mortar confines.
“I think mobile food services certainly offer a very different experience of the brick and mortar food establishments and it promotes that pedestrian oriented outdoor experience, which is much more fluid in terms of the movement of people, and it creates that community connectedness that I know people really appreciate,” she said.
“After Covid I think that’s what everybody is craving, just the ability to connect and stay connected."
All mobile food service operators will be required to have a business licence, with food truck owners to put up $250 annually and smaller, self-propelled businesses like food carts or kiosks to pay $166 a year. Street use permits, for those wanting to have a cart on the sidewalk or their truck on the street, will cost $80.
Coun. Tony Valente, while in support of the pilot, questioned what effect their introduction would have on greenhouse gas emissions, adding he would like see more consideration given to the environmental effects as the pilot progresses.
“The generators sitting on the street beside the trucks are consuming fossil fuels and spewing that back into the atmosphere,” he said.
Valente’s concerns were later echoed in the evening by Coun. Jessica McIlroy and Mayor Linda Buchanan, with Buchanan adding the pilot provides an opportunity to “ask questions around decarbonising.”
Passed unanimously, the pilot will be put in place for one year and reviewed in 2024 before council considers a permanent shift in policy.
Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.