05/15/2013 05:54 EDT | Updated 07/15/2013 05:12 EDT

Group wants city to approve more diverse food carts

The issue of selling food on the streets of Toronto has been a thorny problem for vendors and politicians over the past few years.

Businesses are lobbying for more food carts on the streets — but the city says it needs to regulate the operators to guarantee health concerns are met.

A lobby group called Food Forward Toronto wants the city to relax the rules a little and let more and different foodsellers onto the streets.

On Wednesday the group held a demonstration in front of City Hall to make the point that it's hard to find diverse food from carts and trucks.

One of the biggest problems, they say, is the lengthy approval process and costly permits.

Darcy Higgins of Food Forward Toronto says the city should do a few things.

"One is a moratorium that prevents any new street carts downtown and also food trucks aren't allowed to be parked or in parking lots," said Higgins.

Food Forward Toronto says it wants to see more diverse carts, but the city says there are already too many downtown.

"There needs to be a role for the city to say is the food safe, people need to know that ... how do you stop people fighting over the same street corner, because some corners are more popular than others. All these issues need to be resolved," said Coun. Adam Vaughan.

Vaughan says the food containers at Scadding Court near Dundas and Bathurst are an ideal model.

The city has set up shipping containers and turned them into speciality kitchens.

Diona Joyce paid a one-time fee for a business licence and rents her spot for $16 a day.

"A shipping container it looks like a food truck but we don't have wheels," she said.

The city says it wants to approve more trucks — but in areas that aren't as densely served,.