An overwhelming majority of Campbell River residents support the idea of a food truck pilot project for the downtown core, according to the results of a recent survey.
The city issued the survey after the idea of initiating a pilot project for this summer was shot down at the May 28 meeting of city council in favour of consultation with downtown businesses that could be affected by such a program. When staff was asked to come back to council after consulting downtown businesses, it was decided they would not have time to implement a program this summer after doing so, as it would not be able to launch until August, and “the city may find that the program duration is not sufficient enough to attract program participants,” according to the report presented to council.
So instead, they went ahead with the consultation process with the goal being to flesh out the program and launch it in the spring of 2019.
“I think we heard loud and clear at the last council meeting and as well from the community that there was a concern, but there was also excitement and an appetite – no pun intended – to see this come to fruition,” Mayor Andy Adams said at the time. “But we also want to make sure it’s done in a full, consultative, engaging way.”
The results of the city’s public survey, presented at this week’s meeting of council, reflected that appetite.
Only 28 of the more than 600 respondents to the survey said they were against the project, meaning 96 per cent of people who took the survey wanted to see it go ahead.
In fact, many respondents thought the restrictions planned for food trucks during the proposed pilot project were too severe and limiting.
The city’s proposal was that food trucks would have to remain at least 30 metres away from any open restaurant or cafe, not remain in one location for more than four hours, have an increased business license fee of $300 – a standard business license is $150 – and not be able to have temporary seating or tables available. All of these ideas were seen as being too restrictive based on the survey responses.
Some responses went so far as to say the city was “setting the program up to fail,” by imposing such restrictions.
Others, however, said that they agree that measures need to be taken to ensure current restaurants were not negatively impacted by the presence of the trucks.
Unsurprisingly, the face-to-face consultation process with downtown restaurant owners was a different story. It was not overwhelmingly shifted in the other direction, however, as some might have assumed.
Of the 14 restaurants within the proposed pilot boundary, 11 were able to be consulted on the matter, with four of them expressing support for the project and four saying they were against it. One owner responded as “neutral.”
The Chamber of Commerce also ran a survey amongst its membership, and those results were also shared with council this week.
Like the survey done by the city, the results of the chamber of commerce survey was “overwhelmingly” positive, although there was concern expressed surrounding the trucks negatively impacting an already limited parking situation downtown and a lack of garbage cans available for additional the waste that will be produced.
Council received all of the feedback at this week’s meeting, and Mayor Andy Adams said “it will all be taken into consideration when council deliberates,” prior to the implementation of the pilot project next year.