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Developers ask Lacombe County to ban food trucks at Sandy Point Beach

Developers say they understood they would have exclusive food rights at popular destination
Delta Land Co. Inc. co-owner Frank Wilson sent a letter to Lacombe County council asking that food trucks be barred from setting up at Sandy Point Beach. (Advocate file photo)

The developers of Gull Lake’s Sandy Point Resort and RV Park are concerned that food trucks are taking a bite out of their business.

Delta Land Co. Inc. co-owner Frank Wilson sent a letter to Lacombe County council asking that food trucks be barred from setting up at Sandy Point Beach and the nearby boat launch and marina.

The popular beach was jointly developed by the county and developers as part of the development agreement that led to the creation of the Sandy Point Resort, which also includes a marina and boat launch. A 12-hole golf course is also planned.

Wilson said a “verbal understanding” was in place that Delta would provide food, beverage and ice cream service at the beach.

“From my perspective, Delta Land has paid to pave roads, build beaches and pay taxes only to have food trucks come in and reap the benefits on busy weekends,” says Wilson’s letter.

Delta co-developer Lance Dzaman appeared before county council to explain their concerns. He said they have created a permanent structure and have been holding barbecues Fridays and Saturdays. A deck has been added and the plan is to create a licensed eatery with a full menu.

However, the presence of food trucks deters people from seeking out the eatery.

“Now that the food trucks are coming in it’s just a competition we didn’t think we’d have to fight or compete with,” he told council.

County director of planning services Dale Freitag said mobile vendors can set up at the beach up to seven days at a time without a development permit under the county’s Land Use Bylaw. Trailers are not permitted so food trucks must be self-contained units.

Allowing food trucks fits in with the county’s Economic Development Strategy, which encourages the development of tourism.

“The current inclusion of mobile vendors as a use in recreational areas meets the goals of providing services to facilitate tourism and tourists,” says a report to council.

The county also does not usually get involved in “commercial competition issues as is being requested by the developer,” says the report.

Freitag told council that requiring a permit for all food vendors or reducing the number of consecutive days they operate without one at a site could be considered in a review of the Land Use Bylaw early next year.

“But that’s contrary to what we’re trying to achieve.”

Coun. Dana Depalme said having more food offerings at the beach could provide an opportunity for Delta as more people are drawn to the area.

“When you make it a destination, I think competition is a good thing. There’s probably an opportunity here.”

Council voted unanimously to revisit the food truck policy as part of its bylaw review.

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Paul Cowley

About the Author: Paul Cowley

Paul grew up in Brampton, Ont. and began his journalism career in 1990 at the Alaska Highway News in Fort. St. John, B.C.
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