People may notice an increase in mobile food vendors in North Cowichan this summer.
Council decided to allow food carts and trucks in areas of the municipality at its regular meeting Wednesday.
North Cowichan’s bylaws had no mention of mobile food vending and, by default, food carts and food trucks were considered “restaurants”.
As well, North Cowichan didn’t have any guidance about what municipal parks or public spaces mobile food vendors may use.
Staff have identified a variety of areas where mobile food vendors will now be allowed to set up.
They include six municipally owned parks; Kin Beach in Chemainus, Fuller Lake, Chemainus Lake, Beverly Street dog park, Art Mann Park and the parking lot of the municipal forest reserve.
They are also allowed on any private property that’s zoned commercial, industrial or institutional with the owners’ permission, as well as some public-use locations, like the Forest Discovery Centre.
As well, the food vendors will not be allowed within 30 metres of brick-and-mortar restaurants, 100 metres from an elementary school and 150 metres from a special event.
The new bylaw will not apply to not-for-profit activities, or activities under a special-event permit.
Coun. Al Siebring asked how the municipality intends to enforce the new rules, and exactly who will be targeted.
“I never want to see the municipality in a position where its bylaw officers go after kids operating lemonade stands,” he said.
“When people see things like that happen, our bureaucrats get beat upon over it, but it’s us (council) who write these laws.”
But Coun. Maeve Maguire said she thinks everyone, including kids with lemonade stands, should have to follow the rules of the new bylaw.
“I have no complaints with kids that are making just a few dollars, but some of them make some serious coin and they should pay their dues too,” she said.
“I think it’s good that they see and understand the costs of doing business.”