Chilliwack is gradually rolling out the welcome mat for food trucks — at least on the south side of town.
The Vedder Park area now features a serviced area with water and electrical hook-ups available, as well as non-serviced areas.
But it took two years of tentative efforts with permitting and servicing.
The first food-truck vending area was established in 2018 at Vedder Park near the Vedder River in Chilliwack.
City of Chilliwack officials made food truck permits available early on, but in the first season, maybe due to the novelty of it, “patronage from park users was relatively low” at the Vedder Park location according to the staff report in the Dec. 1 council package.
None of the food truck vendors were in fact able to establish a viable business near the river in the first year.
Some food-truck owners suggested to city staff by way of feedback on how to improve things that if they could access water and power at the site, it would help.
“Staff investigated the proximity of water and power sources and both were found to be directly available on-site,” the report continued.
In order to specifically attract food truck vendors, four water and power hook-up facilities were installed in 2019.
Since then the riverside locale has become more appealing to operators and throughout 2020 the serviced area at Vedder Park was full. The non-serviced spots along the Vedder Greenway were also mostly filled last summer.
The other initiative was in August when city council approved a pilot project to allow liquor consumption on a trial basis in Vedder Park as well as Crossing Park.
“Staff have received requests for power and water services at some other locations such as Peach Park and the Lickman Road parking lot,” the report continued.
But there are no nearby hook-ups so the provision of services would come at a high cost and was therefore “not supportable” at this point, the city-staff report-writer added.
It is not yet known how this past summer season went, but it opened up the question for city officials as to how to balance the inequity of serviced versus non-serviced spots. There were fewer costs incurred by vendors parking in serviced spaces at Vedder Park since they faced no power or water costs, as opposed to vendors in non-serviced sites who had to pay for their fuel, run electrical generators, and transport potable water to the site.
Staff recommended a monthly $50 fee to set up for each truck at the serviced Vedder Park location. They estimated it would cost $50 per month for hydro so that was the amount of the proposed fee recently approved by council.
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