St. John’s city council voted Tuesday to form a working group that will look at a myriad of concerns related to mobile vending in the capital city.
Coun. Maggie Burton told reporters there are “a lot of reasons” why council needs to look at mobile vending regulations in the city.
She mentioned the uptick in the number of mobile vendors in recent years as well as the newly formed Mobile Vendors Association of Newfoundland (MVAN).
Since 2008, there has been a 220 per cent increase in the number of mobile vendors, such as food trucks, requesting permits in St. John’s.
Burton said one issue the working group will aim to address is the difficultly some vendors experience in finding information about the city’s regulations.
“Hopefully this working group will be able to make some recommendations about a better communications framework. So, it might look like a webpage or somewhere where we can make information more accessible to residents who might want to start up a business.”
Burton said the group will also consider regulations around bicycle vending and mobile vendors selling unprepared foods such as fruit and vegetables as a way to address “food deserts” in the city.
“We have quite a few neighbourhoods that don’t have grocery stores or other ways to get food within a five- to 10-minute walk from their home, so I’m hoping that this might be able to help solve that problem.”
Council’s agenda listed some mobile vending related issues the group will aim to address, such as vending in parks, reviewing fee structure for licences, allowing vending in residential zones, and restricting vending near restaurants.
The Telegram asked Burton if mobile vendors will be able to move around the city instead of parking in one location. She said that is another question the working group “could and should consider.”
Coun. Dave Lane said the goal is to ensure the city is not only being supportive of mobile vendors, but also clear.
Mobile vendor Sullivan Power of Hitchen the Kitchen previously told The Telegram the city is inconsistent in the documents he is expected to provide.
He said he hoped that by banding together with other mobile vendors through MVAN some of those processes will become more streamlined.