Long Dick’s Sausage Emporium has a temporary stay of execution with Newfoundland Power, but the sausage-slinging food truck now has a beef with the city.
Steve Smith, owner of the food truck parked on Duckworth Street, complained earlier this year of a bureaucratic tangle with the electrical utility, due to conflicting instructions over how he gets power to his truck. After spending a few thousand dollars for a hookup based on instructions from a customer service representative from Newfoundland Power, said Smith, another Newfoundland Power official told him he’d need to set up a new hookup, at a cost of another estimated $4,000.
That battle has been won, Smith told the Telegram on Friday, since Newfoundland Power has agreed to pay the costs of the new hookup (although he noted it cost him $1,200 in legal fees and wrangling for that to happen).
He’s got a new fight now, though, with the city.
Looking for a more permanent location, Smith applied to city council to set up in the courtyard at the intersection of George and Queen streets downtown, but was turned down.
“It’s basically a neglected area right now,” said Smith. “I put together a proposal to the city that I’d put my rig on that courtyard. I would not impede access to the convention centre. I would create a European-style bistro environment, and I would look after all maintenance, power issues and everything else at that location.”
Smith said he thinks the city doesn’t want the hassle of setting a precedent by letting him operate on city property, but city spokeswoman Jennifer Mills said the reason is much simpler.
“The city currently has five approved vending spaces in the downtown area. Long Dick’s Sausage Emporium is currently in one of them,” she said, adding that the courtyard by the convention centre is not an approved location.
“The city is not entertaining allowing mobile vending on city property, particularly near the entrance to what is going to be our newly expanded convention centre. There’s going to be a great deal of work taking place there over the next few years, about $60 million worth of funding going into that facility, and there’s going to be a lot of construction there.”
Smith said since the courtyard application was turned down, he’s considering a different spot off New Gower Street. “It’s not that it’s a bad location. It’s just that it’s not as good a location.”