Another chapter in the ongoing saga of food trucks in Toronto takes place at City Hall on Tuesday, as the licensing and standards committee looks at a proposal to double the number of mobile kitchens in the city.
A report put to the committee recommends:
- Scrapping the 10-minute vending rule in parking spaces on the road.
- Allowing ice cream trucks to operate temporarily on residential streets.
- Establishing a set 50-metre distance from an open restaurant and at least 30-metres from school property.
- Allowing stationary food carts to operate at designated locations on the sidewalk.
But mostly the measure would be aimed at getting more food trucks on the streets. The proposal wants the city’s current street vending bylaw relaxed, which would more than double the amount of food trucks licences granted to operators, going from 152 in 2013 to 340 this year.
“The path to a street food experience in Toronto that truly matches its celebrated diversity is through easing restrictions and creating opportunities for vendors to make their businesses easily accessible to the public,” according to the staff report.
One point of contention on council is that local Business Improvement Areas would have the power to refuse trucks entry to their neighbourhoods.
Another is the exclusion zone, barring trucks from the space around brick-and-mortar restaurants. Zane Caplansky, who owns Caplansky’s smoked meat restaurant on College Street but also operates a food truck called Thunderin Thelma, says the 50-metre rule will "ruin the food truck industry" and effectively keep trucks out of the downtown core.
Food trucks are currently allowed to operate in private parking lots and at events and not on city property.